Bethany receives grant from Kansas Community Gardens Project

Community Garden harvestBethany College’s Community Garden has been awarded a $5,000 grant through the Kansas Community Gardens Project, a joint initiative of the Kansas Health Foundation and K-State Research and Extension.

Bethany’s Community Garden is one of 35 community garden projects in the state to receive this funding, which will help support the purchase and construction of much needed foundational infrastructure, including a permanent irrigation system, tool shed, and winter tunneling supplies.

“This grant is an exciting opportunity to strengthen our garden’s foundation by putting important infrastructures in place,” said Amy J. Riordan, the new director of Bethany College’s Community Garden.

From fostering a greater level of community involvement, to providing healthy foods for schools and nonprofit events, to the personal health of individuals, community garden projects can make a lasting and positive impact on their communities. Through the Kansas Community Gardens Project, the Kansas Health Foundation and K-State Research and Extension looks to spread these benefits throughout Kansas by providing not only the grant funds, but also information and assistance to help make the individual garden projects successful community ventures.

“As a communal venture and an educational tool, the garden’s mission is to bring together the Lindsborg community, local famers, and Bethany students, faculty, staff, and alumni in an effort to teach and encourage more sustainable living practices,” says Riordan. “We believe that with the garden’s foundations in place, we can focus on making the garden an interactive, community-based classroom for lifelong learning.”

This year Bethany’s Earth Day celebrations on April 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be hosted at the garden along with the annual spring and fall Kid’s Garden that invites community children 3 to 6 years of age to plant, water, compost, and harvest a themed garden. Lindsborg and Bethany volunteers, using hands-on and engaging lessons, teach children and their families the basic principles for growing vegetables and herbs.

“As winter turns into spring, people naturally begin thinking about getting outside and starting a garden,” said Steve Coen, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation. “Through the Kansas Community Gardens Project, our hope is that people will take that desire and energy and channel it into contributing to a community garden for the benefit of their entire community.”

The Kansas Community Gardens Project is a three-year initiative, with this year’s recipients representing the second group. Grant recipients were selected through a competitive application process, which drew interest from organizations and gardens throughout the state. During the inaugural year of grants, 24 gardens were selected.

“This grant has provided a tremendous opportunity for reaching out across the state to help people grow their fresh produce. We anticipate a significant number of people will be impacted by this generous award as our goal is that each of these gardens still be thriving in a sustainable way in 10 years,” said Dr. Cheryl Boyer, assistant professor and extension specialist, ornamental nursery crops, with K-State Research and Extension. “We are proud of the equality, variety and geographic coverage of the proposals we received this year and that we were able to fund so many great projects.”

For more information about Bethany College’s Community Garden’s efforts or to learn how you can participate, please contact Amy J. Riordan at riordanaj@bethanylb.edu.

To speak with someone in more detail about the Kansas Community Gardens Project, please contact Cheryl Boy at 785-532-3504 or crboyer@ksu.edu or Evelyn Neier at 785-410-3760 or eneier@ksu.edu.

About the Kansas Health Foundation

The Kansas Health Foundation is a private philanthropy based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. Its mission is to improve the health of all Kansans. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.kansashealth.org.

About K-State Research and Extension

K-State Research and Extension is the short name for the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. It is a partnership between Kansas State University and federal, state, and county government, with offices in every Kansas county. To learn more, please visit http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/.

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