Gardening project aims to build neighborhood connections - January 24 2013

Community Foundation awards more than $37,000 in grants to community programs

OSHKOSH, WI -- A greener, healthier Oshkosh is on the way.

An expansion of Oshkosh's Community Garden is a venture proposed by the Oshkosh Garden Club that aims to create a more connected and sustainable Oshkosh through the availability of fresh, organically grown foods and neighborhood beatification.

The project, called Growing Seeds of Change, is one of five awarded a total of $37,482 in Community Impact Grants from the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

Photo caption: The Growing Seeds of Change Urban Community Garden is located in downtown Oshkosh on the 600 block of Jefferson Street. Funds from a Community Impact grant will allow the garden to expand in 2013.

LeeAnn Lilly, a member of the Oshkosh Garden Club, explains that the idea for a community garden came from a group of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students.

"The students partnered with the Oshkosh Garden Club to increase the availability of fresh food, promote community development and beatification of the lower income Middle Village neighborhood," Lilly said.

The grant funds will help support part-time staff and numerous improvements, including the addition of 34 garden beds, improving the rain barrel system, adding to the compost area, covering the cost of equipment rental and hosting a harvest party. Lilly says these steps will help serve more residents and increase produce yields.

The Community Garden is located downtown in the 600 block of Jefferson Street. There is no cost for the public to garden in the space and tools are provided. The Community Garden includes family plots for personal use as well as Giving Gardens where volunteers may grow produce to be donated to the Oshkosh Area Food Pantry.

Community Impact grants also benefited domestic abuse victims, children and their adult mentors, low-income people with transportation needs and senior citizen or disabled residents. Local nonprofits requested more than $142,000 in grant funding.

The following programs received grants:

Community Impact Grants
    ADVOCAP: $20,482
    Support for the Oshkosh Area Work-N-Wheels Transportation program, which provides no-interest vehicle purchase and repair loans for low-income people in southern Winnebago County.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters: $5,000
    Support for the formation of an Oshkosh Area Transition Plan and Advisory Council to set goals and suggest priorities, target specific activities and recommend a long-term strategy for Big Brother Big Sisters growth in the Oshkosh area.

    Oshkosh Garden Club: $10,850
    Support for the Growing Seeds of Change--Urban Community Garden program, to create a healthier, more connected and sustainable Oshkosh through organic foods and gardens.

    Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc.: $5,230
    Support for the Crisis Advocacy Services program, which provides immediate assistance to victims of domestic violence, assisting family and friends seeking help for loved ones and meeting daily needs of the residents.

    Fox Valley Lutheran Homes, Inc.: $1,150
    Support for the Outreach Programs of Faith in Action, which provides blood pressure/glucose screenings to lower income senior citizens, families and individuals with disabilities at Double Portion, Assissi Home, and Community Table meal sites in Winnebago County.

Community Impact Grants are awarded three times a year to local nonprofits and programs that help strengthen our community or address emerging needs. Only 501 c(3) nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive Community Foundation grants. Individuals in need of services should call United Way 2-1-1 for information and referral.

Grant support was provided by the Community Impact Fund along with the Erna O. Payton Fund and the Guenther-Motz Trust Fund, both Field of Interest Funds of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

For more information, contact Director of Programs Amy Putzer at 920-426-3993 or by email.
The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive.

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