Funds Awarded to 26 Urban Agriculture Projects Led by Public Gardens and Community Partners

KENNESAW, GA (March 22, 2024) – The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) and American Public Gardens Association (Association) are awarding support to 26 public gardens and their community partners engaging in urban agriculture, food-growing, and related education work. The 26 awards total $445,600 in support for public garden partnerships across the United States that will foster public engagement and education in urban food growing and build capacity in urban agriculture programs. The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program aims to strengthen collaborations, promote resilience and gather best practices from across the U.S.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, GA is one of the 2024 recipients.

“We are excited to be partnering with Our Giving Garden in Mableton to help us establish our food growing to enhance our community engagement and educational programming,” says Dave Simpson, Executive Director. “Our new garden area, called Living Laboratory, will expand our capacity to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, with produce donated to local communities in need, and enable our efforts to engage and educate new communities.” 

Our Giving Garden is a 501c3 nonprofit farm and education center with a mission to interrupt poverty through fresh food access, education and greenspace access. The Giving Garden has donated over 10,000 pounds of organic produce and 12,000 eggs to the Sweetwater Mission Food Pantry.

The funds will help programs in 26 states and Washington, D.C. integrate urban food growing and urban agriculture education while addressing food security challenges in their communities. The program seeks to leverage the strength of public gardens working with partners in their communities, ranging from schools, universities, and urban farms to food pantries, community gardens, local government agencies and nonprofit organizations. This year, the program especially sought to support collaborations involving smaller public gardens, as well as organizations demonstrating a strong commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility.

Over the UARP’s previous four years, the program has awarded $1.57 million to 80 collaborations in 30 states and D.C. These programs have grown and shared over 690,000 pounds of produce, distributed more than 260,000 seedlings, and provided more than 46,000 hours of urban agriculture training to students, interns, and trainees.

“The collaborations supported through this year’s Urban Agriculture Resilience Program demonstrate many creative ways that urban agriculture can connect people and plants through food,” said Dr. Susan Pell, USBG executive director. “We are thrilled to embark on a fifth year of supporting such vital urban food-growing programs across the country and to expand the existing Urban Agriculture Resilience Program community with these 26 new projects.”

The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program began in 2020 as a way for the USBG and the Association to support and expand urban agriculture and food-growing programs at public gardens. Learn more about previous awardees at www.USBG.gov/UrbanAg.

For more information about Smith-Gilbert Gardens, visit www.smithgilbertgardens.com.

About United States Botanic Garden

The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is the oldest continuously operating public garden in the United States, established by Congress in 1820. The U.S. Botanic Garden inspires people to appreciate, study, and conserve plants to enrich society locally and globally. With over a million visitors annually, the USBG strives to demonstrate and promote sustainable practices. It is a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. www.USBG.gov 

About American Public Gardens Association

The American Public Gardens Association is the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture. We advance the field by encouraging best practices, offering educational and networking opportunities, and advocating on behalf of our members, our programs and public gardens worldwide. We work together with our members and others to strengthen and shape public horticulture, providing the tools and support industry professionals need to better serve the public while preserving and celebrating plants creatively and sustainably. Since 1940, we have been committed to increasing cooperation and awareness among gardens. Our members include more than 600 institutions, spanning 49 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and 20 countries. Our members include, but are not limited to, botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges and universities, display gardens, and research facilities. www.publicgardens.org