Lincoln Parks and Recreation was recently awarded a $10,000 grant by the National Recreation and Park Association's (NRPA) Grow Your Park program to support the Department's Community Youth Garden initiative. Lincoln elementary school children work daily in gardens located at all City Recreation Centers.
Lincoln Parks and Recreation is one of 10 agencies in the nation to receive the 2011 Grow Your Park award. Funds will help establish a new youth garden site, refurbish several older ones and provide needed tools and seeds as well as composting and rain collection containers.
"The Community Youth Garden program teaches young people the process from soil preparation to harvest, helping them make the garden-to-table connection and introducing them to fresh vegetables," said Sandy Myers, Recreation Manager for Lincoln Parks and Rec. "The youth sell a small portion of the produce at farmers markets to learn entrepreneurial skills. They also take some home to their families, many of whom are low-income, minority or new Americans." Each summer, the program also sponsors a large food drive, encouraging adult backyard gardeners to donate any excess produce to the Food Bank of Lincoln.
Now in its second year, NRPA's Grow Your Park program supports park and recreation agencies in creating and expanding community garden operations and activities, with a goal of increasing participation among children and teens. The grants are made possible through a gift from the J.R. Albert Foundation.
"The 2011 Grow Your Park program provides a creative way for young people to grow, both in the garden and in the community," said Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA. "We congratulate our 2011 Grow Your Park grantees, whose programs will contribute to a healthy sense of self, good nutrition and a connection to the outdoors for our nation's youth."
For more information on the Community Youth Gardens, contact Sandy Myers at 402-441-8261.