Grants for workplace food gardens available to small businesses

The Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Community Garden Network announce a new grant program for small businesses that will provide funding and technical assistance for nine workplace food gardens at sites statewide.

The Green Thumbs at Work grants are open to any Vermont business or organization with less than 50 employees. Two size grants will be awarded – $1,750 and $650 – by the Health Department and program partners Vermont Community Garden Network, Gardener’s Supply Company, and garden expert Charlie Nardozzi.

Full Food Garden Grants provide $500 for materials, $250 gift certificate to Gardener’s Supply, and $1,000 in technical assistance; Container Food Garden Grants provide $300 for materials, a $150 gift certificate from Gardener’s Supply, and $200 in technical assistance. The expert technical assistance from Charlie Nardozzi and Vermont Community Garden Network staff will help workplace garden groups plan and implement their garden projects.

The food can go to individual employees, used for shared meals, or be donated a local food shelf or service agency. Each workplace will have different goals for the garden. The technical assistance provided through the grant program will help each business determine the type and size of garden that best meets its needs and develop strategies to ensure the garden will be successful throughout the garden season and for years to come.

The application deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 21. Green Thumbs at Work grant winners will be announced Feb. 10. Six businesses will receive Full Food Garden Grants and three will receive Container Food Garden Grants. A business may only apply in one category. Grant winners will be selected based on readiness to develop a workplace garden, including employee engagement, existence of a wellness coordinator, and ability to provide matching funds or in-kind services for garden development.

For more program details and a link to the online application, go to www.vcgn.org/GreenThumbsAtWork. Call 861-4769 for more information.

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