Start a School Garden: Apply by November 20 for $2,000 Grow-to-Learn Grants

A fledgling urban farmer. Photo courtesy

Over the past few years we’ve watched as parents and teachers with a knack for turning parking lots into produce launch a slew of mini farm projects at New York City Public schools. The Citywide School Gardens Initiative hopes to help them, providing not just supplies and expert advice from the community gardeners at the GrowNYC Greenthumb program, but literal seed money. Launched last year with help from The Mayor’s Office and GrowNYC, the program is also called Grow to Learn, and until November 30 you can apply for a $2,000 mini-grant to start or enhance a garden for schoolkids. (There’s complete information from the organization here and at the end of this post.)

Meanwhile if you’re looking for inspiration, check the interview we did with Nora Painten on Monday night–the teacher is starting an $8,000 square foot garden complete with a chicken coop in Brownsville, Brooklyn with P.S. 323 nearby. In the show, she talks about how she scored a contract to garden on the land from the city, and is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Brownsville Student Farm Project’s first spring in 2012. Rest assured she’s already applied for the grant below!

****More from Grow to Learn***
Grow to Learn is awarding mini-grants of up to $2,000 for public and charter schools to start or enhance a school garden program. All kinds of gardens are eligible to apply – from raised beds to indoor window boxes, and everything in-between!  All public and charter schools registered with Grow to Learn are eligible to apply. Mini-grant awards can be used to purchase supplies, teacher training workshops, curriculum, and more. Schools registered with Grow to Learn are also eligible to attend free workshops and receive free soil, lumber and more from GreenThumb in the NYC Parks Department.  If your school has a garden, consider hosting a Harvest Event in your cafeteria through the Office of SchoolFood’s Garden to School Café program. Please visit for all the details.

Schools can register gardens and submit mini-grant applications at The mini-grant application requires schools to form a school garden committee or school green team, create a school garden map, and obtain a letter of support from the school principal. For questions and assistance please contact the Grow to Learn Team at or (212) 788-7923.

If your school is located in the South Bronx, East or Central Harlem, or Central Brooklyn, you may be eligible to receive additional one-on-one support for your garden. For more information please contact Madeleine Andersen by email at or by phone at (212) 788-7916.

Grow to Learn NY: The Citywide School Gardens Initiative, is a project of the Mayor’s Fund in partnership with GrowNYC, NYC Department of Education, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and other government and non-government partners.

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