‘Gardening For Good’ Grows Healthy Opportunities During Pandemic

January 28, 2021
Sisters Karlie, 6, and Kai, 5, are participating in a home gardening program made possible by support from the Gardening for Good Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward.

Fresh herbs available to harvest from a windowsill. Plump tomatoes ready for picking on the back porch.

Mini gardens springing up in Broward are empowering residents to achieve healthier living amid the pandemic.

Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Gardening for Good Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward, local households affected by the coronavirus crisis are learning new ways to eat better and relieve stress by growing their own food and spices.

H.O.M.E.S., Inc. instructors teach new gardeners - via online video - how to plant and harvest herbs and tomatoes from mini, at-home gardens made possible with support from the Gardening for Good Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward.

Isolated seniors, families stung by job loss as well as residents recovering from the coronavirus disease are among the 150 households participating in a home gardening program created by the nonprofit economic development organization, H.O.M.E.S., Inc.

Participants receive windowsill garden boxes that include pots, soil, seeds and other supplies to grow herbs such as parsley, sage, basil and rosemary. In addition, reusable 5-gallon bags filled with soil enable new gardeners to grow several tomato plants or vegetables – with the ability to relocate their tiny gardens as needed. H.O.M.E.S., Inc. also created instructional videos to show program participants how to plant and harvest their new at-home crops.

“We wanted to give people an opportunity to put their hands in the soil and see the product of their efforts grow,” H.O.M.E.S., Inc. CEO Linda Taylor said.

The plants bursting from those tiny seeds are creating a big impact in Broward. Gardening at home helps seniors stay active during the pandemic, when many are cut off from their loved ones. Teaching families to make use of limited space for gardening creates more access to fresh ingredients, which inspires healthier cooking. And children are more likely to take a bite of a healthy meal if they helped grow the food.

“This is a great family project,” said Kareisha D., whose family is participating in the at-home gardening program. “My kids are being schooled at home and every day they keep peeping to see if there is a change in the growth.  They take turns watering the plants.”

The Gardening for Good Fund, which made this program possible, was created by an anonymous Fundholder who has collaborated with the Community Foundation to improve the health of the community by increasing the availability of nutritious foods in neighborhoods with limited access.

Now, in addition to helping more residents grow healthy food through at-home gardening, support from the Gardening for Good Fund is also providing rent and utility assistance through H.O.M.E.S., Inc. for local residents struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic. Thanks to support from this Fund, struggling families, isolated seniors and others who have faced economic setbacks during this crisis are getting a hand up to get back on their feet.

This emergency aid is a powerful extension of the Gardening for Good Fund’s commitment to make life better for Broward residents. And it’s one of many examples of how the Community Foundation finds innovative, dynamic ways for our philanthropy partners to make a bold impact during the pandemic – just when our community needs them the most.

Thanks to support from our visionary Fundholders and the power of endowment, we will always be there to tackle the Issues That Matter most in Broward – during this crisis and beyond.

Learn More

To learn how you can make a life-changing difference with an endowed charitable Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at nthies@cfbroward.org or 954-761-9503.

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