As a leader in the lawn and garden industry, Fiskars believes in contributing to community gardening and the healthy, sustainable living it provides. Through Project Orange Thumb®, Fiskars awards cash and garden tools to help support community garden goals across North America. This year’s grant recipients are:
Teens Empowerment Awareness with Resolutions, Inc., Tuskegee, AL
BRIDGES (Building Responsible Individuals through Deliberate Guidance, Empowerment and Support) is a shelter service provided by TEARS, Inc. TEARS’ (Teens Empowerment Awareness with Resolutions) focus is on developing competency and resilience in young women fighting against poverty and homelessness. The BRIDGES garden teaches these young women the skills to grow food, improves access to fresh produce and provides the surrounding community with lower food costs. With the help of a Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, BRIDGES will expand the community garden with the addition of a drip-irrigation system and raised herb beds along with the development of intensive garden production classes open to all community members.
Altadore School Parent Council Association, Calgary, Alberta
Representing an urban school in the heart of Calgary’s redevelopment area, the Altadore School Parent Council Association (ASPCA), along with several partners, established “The Owls’ Nest,” an ecological space for the community and a model for more than a dozen school-ground rejuvenation projects across Calgary. ASPCA’s plans include serving the school’s neighborhood and environment with “The Owls’ Nest Too,” an 11,600-square-foot community garden. With the help of their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, The Owls’ Nest Too will feature perennials, fruit trees, small fruits and food forests, enhancing the students’ learning experience through their own participation.
Fulton Place Community Garden, Edmonton, Alberta
In the past two years, Fulton Place Community Garden has raised funds to design and organize a garden in order to cultivate personal, neighborhood and environmental well-being. The organization’s next step, with the help of their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, is to establish its garden site in the yard of Calgary’s St. Augustine Anglican Church. The church’s central location and proximity to the Fulton Place neighborhood gives the Fulton Place Community Garden the opportunity to enhance the church’s role as a community partner. The neighborhood is home to many young families, working professionals and seniors, and the organization plans to use the garden to offer intergenerational learning opportunities taught by experienced gardeners.
District of Chetwynd, Chetwynd, British Columbia
The Chetwynd Social Planning Society, along with the District of Chetwynd, established the Chetwynd Community Gardens in 2007. The community gardens program is dedicated to enhancing local food security, nutrition, recreation and education. In the spring of 2014, the nearby Little Prairie Elementary School built a greenhouse and established an outdoor classroom as part of the community gardens. The Chetwynd Community Gardens will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to expand their current garden to include fruit trees and berry bushes.
South Conejos Schools, Antonito, CO
South Conejos Schools recognizes the importance of encouraging an active conversation about healthy living practices and is excited to expand their school garden. Thirty-five percent of their students were living in poverty as of 2012, and Conejos County ranked 56th out of the 59 Colorado counties for overall health. South Conejos Schools will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to improve the school garden. The food harvested from the garden will go into the school meals and provide community gatherings with local, organic produce.
Huckleberry Hill Elementary School PTO, Brookfield, CT
Established in 2009, Huckleberry Hill Elementary School’s garden fell by the wayside in 2012 due to budget cuts. Today, two parents at the school have joined forces to spur community motivation and bring life back to the garden. With the help of a Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, the school will kick off the season with a spring cleanup and replace fencing around the space. The garden will function as an outdoor classroom for the school children and the surrounding community, giving children the opportunity to weed, water, explore and grow along with the garden. Additionally, the garden will provide food to the local food pantry as well as to classrooms for teaching and cooking. The shared space will not only be open to students, parents and teachers but also to a number of local groups that have already volunteered to help, including The Garden Club of Brookfield, Outdoor Solutions of Brookfield and the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
MAN UP Mentoring, Inc., Orlando, FL
MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. strives to improve the quality of life for at-risk male youth by providing educational and social services that will better equip them to lead inspired, productive lives. MAN UP Mentoring will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to support a new community garden by installing an irrigation system, organizing quarterly garden activities and incorporating youth art into the space. The garden is situated close to Washington Shores Elementary School as well as several churches, so the organization will be able to offer many educational and volunteering opportunities to the youth as well as the broader community.
Calvin Hunsinger School, Clearwater, FL
Calvin Hunsinger Exceptional Center serves students with severe emotional and behavioral challenges that are not addressed in a general education setting. Named in honor of the local farmer who helped plot the school’s garden in its inaugural season, the John Miller Memorial Garden is a place to teach the students valuable life skills and to reduce food insecurity in the community. The school will use the Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to harvest crops and provide fresh produce to students’ families of two local schools.
Gardner Community Garden, Gardner, KS
Formed in the spring of 2013, the Gardner Community Garden is comprised of 4½ acres of individual and communal plots. Thirty members care for the garden, and the produce is shared among the members, community and charitable organizations. In its first season the garden donated 5,100 pounds of fresh produce to six local charities. The Gardner Community Garden will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to expand the garden, adopt innovative methods of fertilization and crop watering, add flower and fruit gardens and develop an educational program.
Crescent Leadership Academy, New Orleans, LA
Crescent Leadership Academy (CLA) provides alternative educational services to students struggling with school, offering them another chance to receive a quality education. These students come from predominately underserved communities, and CLA strives to support the students’ success and achievement. CLA will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to create a community garden called Grow CLA Organic Farm Project, to enhance the school’s learning environment and promote civic responsibility. Volunteering to work in the garden will introduce the students to sustainable farming, promoting responsibility and leadership.
The Home for Aged People of Fall River, Fall River, MA
The Home for Aged People of Fall River is a community organization that offers services and care to mature residents of the south coastal region. The Home is committed to supporting the dignity and pleasures of life during residents’ mature years. Part of that commitment is an intense focus on healthy, active lifestyles. Through their community garden, The Harvest, The Home provides empowerment, resources, physical activity and the rewards of hard work. The organization will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to plant additional crops for the upcoming season to donate to local food banks and benefit the low-income people of the area by providing no-cost fresh produce.
Teaticket School, Falmouth Public Schools, East Falmouth, MA
A group of teachers from Teaticket School have tackled the challenge of repurposing an outdated playground space by turning it into a multiuse outdoor learning area for Teaticket students. By offering hands-on activities that promote mindful focus, exploration and problem solving, the group will foster a space that will be an integral part of the students’ learning environment. With the help of Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb grant, the group will grow edibles to teach students about nutrition and the growing process. All food grown will go home to students’ families or will be donated throughout the community with the goal of inspiring others to try their hand at growing their own food.
Southwest Housing Solutions, Detroit, MI
Southwest Housing Solutions turns vacant lots into thriving gardens with raised vegetable beds, to grow produce and help families reduce their food costs. The organization believes that transforming unused land into thriving green spaces brings positivity and light to once-desolate areas of the community. With its Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, Southwest Housing Solutions will triple the capacity of one garden, the Bagley Garden, with four additional raised beds, providing locally grown produce to more area residents.
Churches United for the Homeless, Moorhead, MN
Churches United for the Homeless is a program run by local churches in the Moorhead, Minnesota area since 1987 which offers overnight housing with food service and a thrift store, along with additional services to help individuals and families. Churches United now plans to create the communal Bright Sky Gardens to give shelter residents an opportunity to grow their own food, while encouraging discipline and community interaction. The garden will include fresh produce for the shelter’s food program, flowering annuals to beautify the community space and a nature-based play area for children housed in the shelter.
Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc., Newark, NJ
Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc. (SAS) is a nonprofit organization that partners with Newark residents and businesses to advocate for the creation of self-sustaining communities through green jobs. SAS provides outdoor and indoor learning experiences that connect people to nature and science. The “Garden of Hope” aspires to stimulate the senses, inspire and bring the community together through an aesthetically pleasing herb and flower garden. This will be established with the help of their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant in an abandoned corner lot along a central street of the neighborhood. SAS plans to further their mission by hosting community engagement sessions on a variety of gardening topics.
Holmdel Green Team, Holmdel, NJ
Holmdel Community Garden was inspired in 2014 by a high school ecology club that wanted to grow fresh produce for a local food pantry. The township granted use of a parcel and cultivated the land for the students. Local gardening and ecology groups and interested community members are helping to get the garden growing in its inaugural 2015 season. To further their mission, they will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to create walkable paths within the garden and build raised beds and a tool shed.
Mount Holly Community Garden/Mount Holly Farmers Market, Mount Holly, NC
Now kicking off its 10th year of operation, the Mount Holly Farmers Market has established itself as a community organization that offers fresh, locally sourced farm products and healthy foods that are sustainably grown. Now ready to take the next step in supporting the Mount Holly community, market members are excited to develop the Mount Holly Community Garden. The Mount Holly Farmers Market plans to further educate community members on growing their own healthy food organically. More than 50 beds are planned for an organic garden space that will provide fresh produce to low-income and elderly citizens of Mount Holly with the help of their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant.
Little Bud Thorbs Economic Development Association for Minorities in Sports and Human Enrichment, Grifton, NC
Little Bud Thorbs Economic Development Association for Minorities in Sports and Human Enrichment focuses on the economic, social and health aspects of the lives of adults and youth in Lenoir County and surrounding areas. The organization’s goal is to promote programs that will benefit and encourage young people, families and people who are homeless to maintain economically sound, socially responsible and healthy lifestyles. The Little Bud Thorbs & HattieMae Community Garden was created in the belief that community gardening improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, producing nutritious food and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education. The Little Bud Thorbs Economic Development Association team has done substantial research to ensure the success of the community garden, allowing for the inclusion of many community members. The organization will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to plant and harvest healthy produce for area families and to sponsor classes in gardening, cooking and food preservation.
Veterans Healing Farm, Hendersonville, NC
Veterans Healing Farm is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to aid veterans reintegrating into civilian life by growing produce, raising farm animals and learning about holistic health and sustainability. The community farm focuses on helping veterans build friendships and cultivate emotional, physical and spiritual health along with the practice of innovative gardening techniques. In 2015 Veterans Healing Farm will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to cultivate their newly leased one-acre plot of land, which is dedicated to growing produce for food banks and area shelters. The farm will also host community events, including a garden tour, an outdoor concert and a family camping event.
Community Living Hanover & Area, Hanover, Ontario
Community Living Hanover & Area is committed to fostering meaningful, community-based opportunities for individuals with developmental, physical and/or mental disabilities. Founded in 1977, CLHA has a rich tradition of enhancing quality of life and celebrating the unity of all ages, income levels and physical and mental abilities. The organization was inspired to establish a community where all individuals were welcomed and could learn about sustainability and nutrition. The garden they’ll create with the Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant will foster more diverse social connections for all members of Hanover and create a thriving, multipurpose space for people who may not ordinarily have access to such an opportunity.
Peterborough Community Garden Network, Peterborough, Ontario
With a goal to cultivate resilient and vibrant communities one garden at a time, the Peterborough Community Garden Network is a collaborative organization that focuses on education and advocacy. Over the past five years, the Peterborough Community Garden Network has worked with an array of garden influencers to grow from 10 community gardens to 36 throughout the city and county. Recognizing these gardens as a key element of food security, ecological integrity and community building, the organization plans to use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to clean up existing gardens, build new garden beds and expand the amount of usable garden space to grow even more fresh produce.
Springwater Environmental Sciences School, Oregon City, OR
Springwater Environmental Sciences School is a public charter school in the Oregon City, Oregon school district. The school aims to provide science-based, outdoor education for its students, who hail from rural, suburban and urban sectors of the community. Located on five acres of rural land outside Oregon City, the school has developed and integrated gardening into its curriculum through weekly classes and a space to safely explore and recharge. Their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant will aid in continuing to develop their garden space, establish raised beds and create clearer pathways for a safer environment.
Steel Valley School District, Munhall, PA
Steel Valley Grows was launched in 2013 by a group of parents in the Steel Valley School District. The group recruited volunteers to turn a quarter-acre lot near the school’s administrative offices and kindergarten facility into a community garden. After securing the property and clearing the land, the group repaired an existing greenhouse and grew a small selection of produce. This year the group will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to cooperate with the members of a nearby community garden to plant seeds for the growing season, expand the number of raised garden beds and supply a local food pantry with fresh produce. Steel Valley Grows’ goal is to provide food to the 61 percent of district students on free or reduced-cost lunch plans.
Town of Whitewood, Whitewood, Saskatchewan
The town of Whitewood has long been known as a friendly rest stop for travelers. With their roots sturdy in hospitality, the town is excited to add a municipal park to their welcoming reputation. Embraced by a number of organizations within the community, the town will use their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to build a green space in the summer of 2015. Community members will soon have a place to relax, gather and play.
Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, Mission, SD
Keya Wakpala Community Garden is an initiative launched by the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), a nonprofit chartered entity of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. REDCO works to strengthen the local economy and develop tribal land and other natural resources to address the many challenges faced by the community, including food insecurity and unemployment. The 600-acre community garden is located near one of three grocery stores on the 1,900-square-mile reservation. It serves the entire community with fresh produce and steady employment. With their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, REDCO will rally adult and youth support to plant, tend and share in the garden’s harvest.
Loudon County Health Improvement Council, Loudon, TN
The Loudon County Health Improvement Council offers an obesity prevention initiative called PLAYLoudon—Physically Active, Living-Healthy, Adults and Youth—aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles through local community outreach programs. Recently PLAYLoudon launched a produce delivery program called GetFresh! Throughout the summer, it provides fresh produce from a local farm to more than 130 senior and low-income households in Loudon County. With the Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, the program will create a community garden to provide an additional source of fresh produce. The garden will offer at-risk youth the opportunity to get involved in garden maintenance and collaborative activities.
First United Methodist Church, Cross Plains, TX
The Lord’s Acre Community Garden arose from the ashes of devastating fires in 2005 when the First United Methodist Church of Cross Plains (FUMC Cross Plains) lost its church and parsonage. The fire cleared trees and dead brush from the area, leaving a large—and desolate—plot of land. With several city organizations’ shared interest in creating a community garden to eliminate food deserts for area residents, FUMC Cross Plains launched The Lord’s Acre as a space to grow fresh produce for families and food pantries. To further their mission, church members will use the Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to develop a water supply for the garden and build raised beds and a tool shed for its foundational growing season.
Box Elder Community Garden, Brigham City, UT
Box Elder Community Garden began when two strangers met at a church book club and discovered a shared passion for gardening and a desire to give back to the community. The two women secured a plot of land near their church and Box Elder was born, with a goal of providing the community with raised beds to grow food and engage in educational experiences. More than 20 approved gardeners will participate in the growing season, tending to the raised beds. The organization will further the mission by using their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant to create a series of community talks on specific gardening topics and develop an expanded water distribution system.
Centreville Elementary School, Centreville, VA
A public school serving approximately 900 students, Centreville Elementary School (CES) focuses on the health of the environment and the critical role it plays in fostering sustainable communities. CES is listed as one of five Green Flag Schools in the U.S., combining green management of the school grounds, facilities and curriculum. Their Outdoor Living program includes an outdoor classroom and several wildlife habitats where students help cultivate and maintain plants native to Virginia. The Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant will fund the installation of vegetable gardens throughout the school grounds and the construction of a greenhouse.
The Guest House of Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
The Guest House of Milwaukee, established in 1982 by Milwaukee’s Central City Churches, provides shelter, housing, education and services to Milwaukee citizens who are homeless. The Guest House supports The Cream City Gardens, providing job training, education and a sense of community to clients, visitors and volunteers. The garden provides fresh, home-grown produce to the shelter, permanent housing clients, neighbors and the nearby Friedens Community Ministries food pantry. Located in central Milwaukee, the one-acre garden yields over 3,500 pounds of fresh produce each year, employing innovative processes like their Rainwater Harvesting Pavilion to catch and store rainwater for the gardens. Volunteer and shelter clients collaborate to manage the garden. With the help of a Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant, The Guest House of Milwaukee will increase the amount of produce grown. The Guest House will also introduce a produce truck to visit the city’s food deserts, employing some formerly homeless individuals as drivers and clerks.