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July 2014
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CityLink Seattle

‘Grow Your Park’ grant will help low-income families grow fresh produce

[Reposted from Parkways blog.]

Girl in garden

Rainier Valley Community Center garden – by Rainier Valley Post

Seattle Parks and Recreation has been selected as a “Grow Your Park” grant recipient from the Darden Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Seattle Parks was one of 15 communities awarded this grant in 2014. The grant amount is $10,000.

Environmental Stewardship Coordinator Shanyanika Burton said the department will use the funds to increase outreach efforts to underserved populations and boost participation at six of the 10 community center gardens located across Seattle.

“Food security is a crucial component of the conversation on equity,” Burton said. “Through our Good Food urban agriculture programs, we provide access to land for growing food to community members who don’t have space at home. We are hoping that raising awareness of our gardens will encourage people to come together and to eat more fresh organic produce.”

In addition to the production of nutritious food, community gardens promote healthy lifestyles, connect people to nature, cultivate community ties and strengthen self-sufficiency for many. The entire process from planting to harvesting helps create a more active, engaged and healthy community.

“The Grow Your Park grant program and its recipients embody our commitment to give back to local communities, preserve our planet’s natural resources and serve food to those in need,” said Stephanie Ghertner, director of the Darden Foundation. “Food banks and other organizations in communities across the country benefit from the fresh produce and educational opportunities community gardens provide.”

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 40,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Darden Foundation’s mission is to maintain a spirit of service and community engagement as defining characteristics of Darden’s family of restaurants – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $71 million in grants to leading nonprofit organizations that align with its mission and community priorities: Recipe for Success®, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor grants. Through the Darden Harvest program, Darden Restaurants has also donated more than 66 million pounds of food to hunger relief agencies across the U.S. and Canada. In 2011, the Darden Foundation introduced the Restaurant Community Grants program that is dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities where we live and serve. For more information, please visit www.dardenfoundation.com.