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Two GRO1000 Grant Recipients: Still Growing Three Years Later

Stemming from a GRO1000 grant received in 2011, Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys was able to host its first annual Youth Build event this year. More than 350 volunteers, including more than 240 children––from young stars of Disney shows to local high school and college students––helped revitalize two vacant lots in a 61-home neighborhood in Pacoima, Calif., to create an urban community garden and a neighborhood “tot lot”where area children can play.

This space helped to improve the quality of life for the neighborhood and empower a sense of community ownership among its residents. Given the impressive turnout and overwhelming response from the community, the organization is looking to repeat the event in years to come.

“Through the hard work of more than 350 volunteers, the Habitat for Humanity Youth Build project created a beautiful and inviting urban community garden and neighborhood tot lot for 61 homes in a Pacoima, Calif., Habitat community,” said Robert McLellan, Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys. “Our first project of its kind, Youth Build was a tremendous success that we’re eager to emulate in the years to come. We are grateful for the commitment of ScottsMiracle-Gro to our space, and to so many others across the country, through the GRO1000 program.”

Also in 2011, Neighborhood House’s Child Care Improvement Project received a GRO1000 grant to create six healthy edible gardens. The gardens were installed through a partnership with Growing Gardens, a local non-profit, which also facilitated two garden workshops for all Neighborhood House clients on garden basics and gardening through the fall and winter. Additionally, some child-care providers were able to send produce home with the children so that they could share with their families.

Neighborhood House’s Child Care Improvement Project reports that their gardens flourished over the summer and fall and that the children were excited watching their strawberries and vegetables grow. To extend the garden experience, Neighborhood House also provided curriculum books for the child-care providers to use in their classrooms. Each child’s home also received the book Growing Vegetable Soup, which showed children how one tiny seed eventually becomes soup.

“The CCIP feels that having family child-care providers engage their children on where their food comes from and having them be involved with the planting and growing process is a great way to help them understand food, science and good nutrition,” said Marilyn Goodman of the Child Care Improvement Project. “The gardens also helped family child-care providers serve their children healthier food while saving money on fresh produce. With six providers caring for an average of 42-48 children collectively, the benefits of these gardens go a long way! We enjoyed a great success with our garden project and are so thankful to ScottsMiracle-Gro for helping fund this wonderful experience.”