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Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County 2015 Grant Recipients

MGCC received 25 grant applications for the grants of up to $1,000 with a total amount of $6,500 to be awarded. It was not easy to make the decisions on whom to award the grants; we received outstanding applications! The approximate number of people to be served by these grants reaches 3,800. We awarded 10 grants to the following organizations:

The Bedford Garden Club – A project to erect three raised beds to provide ergonomic spaces for senior citizens or those with physical limitations. Their goal is to provide instruction of the basics of vegetable gardening with an emphasis on growing unadulterated, nutrient-dense produce. This project is intended to provide the raised beds and to facilitate the work of MGCC garden mentors with lectures and opportunities for ‘hands-on’ learning by doing. These beds will open the door for new members and will reduce the current limitations to participants with various physical limitations. This will create an opportunity to interact with other like-minded residents to build relationships that develop a stronger sense of community.
Number of people to be served under this program: 200-300

Cuyahoga County Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) Riverview Towers Community Healing Garden
The proposed garden at Riverview Towers Estate will be a revitalization of land currently housing an underused volleyball court. For 5 years the estate has had the 5-acre Ohio City Farm in its backyard. And though they do employ up to 7 residents there, it is not specifically for the residents use. CMHA has received feedback from their residents and the management of the building asking for an opportunity to have its own garden space. CMHA would like to offer this 8,000-plus square foot space as a community garden. This garden would be a showcase for their program, with innovative uses of the space including more than just vegetable growing for the residents. CMHA sees this as an opportunity to create an oasis for their residents, recreational, intergenerational educational and ‘play ‘opportunities for all their residents. The garden is specifically for the low-income, public housing senior residents. They will be encouraged to use this space with their families. It is very common for the seniors to provide care to their young grandchildren; this will be an intergenerational spot where seniors and children can interact and learn together. The grant will be used to begin the first phase of building the new gardens; lumber, woodchips, soil and tools.
Number of people to be served under this program: 500+

Let’s Grow! Educating Students about Green Industry and Pathways through the Gates Mills Environmental Education Center (GMEEC) – This project aims to educate the general public, staff and students in nine northeast Ohio school districts about the value and quality of the GMEEC horticulture program. The grant will be used for current students in the program to work with a coordinator to design and create promotional materials about the EEC and agriculture/green industry. The current students would have a booth at the Cuyahoga County Fair in addition to several other venues, to meet the public / school staffs and students and share their posters, brochures and video. Students participating in the project will deepen their knowledge and appreciation for horticulture and there will be an increase in the number of new enrollees into the GMEEC program for subsequent years.
Number of people to be served under this project: 70 current students, 1500+ for classroom visits, 10th Grade Opportunity Fair, Cuyahoga County Fair, 2015 Fall Fest, and 2016 Spring Open Houses

Heights Christian Church Gets Composting! Heights Christian Church in Shaker Heights has a community garden established in 2012 with 21 raised beds that gardeners work for their own families and a Giving Garden that church members and volunteers tend to raise produce to donate to organizations in the area serving low/moderate income individuals. With funds from this grant, the church will build wood compost bins for garden waste (meeting city guidelines), and provide gardeners, church members and others in the Greater Heights community with 4 educational garden seminars within the year and add plantings and finish the garden walkways and compost area with wood chips and mulch.
Number of people to be served under this project: 100+

Children’s Garden Shed: City of Independence Afterschool and Summer Camp Program – The project is a wooden garden shed approximately 12’ x 16’ in size. The shed will be used to house the tools and supplies for the Afterschool/Summer Camp garden. This tool shed will enhance the children’s garden using the collaborative resources of the City of Independence and Independence High School. Initially, they will consult with the City of Independence Engineering Department to provide guidance on the best size and location for the building. The Independence High School Shop Classes will build the shed; a high school student will produce a detailed CadCam design of the shed. The building offers experience in math, science and reading. Currently gardening supplies are kept in a classroom. Every morning and evening the children have to carry the shovels, rakes, trowels, and other gardening accessories in and out of the building about 500 feet to the garden. Classroom space is limited, so it would be extremely beneficial to have a garden shed to house the gardening supplies. The students enjoy gardening and learning about fresh produce, green concepts and nutrition. The shed will be a useful and time saving (more gardening!) addition to the garden project and a source of pride for all those who participate in the construction for years to come.
Number of people to be served under this program: 400+

Neighborhood Family Practice (NFP) Community Garden – The NFP community garden is a major project of NFP’s community outreach and engagement committee. In 2014, NFP revived the garden after identifying the potential to positively impact community health. The garden location was successfully transformed into a functional vegetable and herb garden. In 2015, they aim to expand and improve the program. Health and nutritional educational materials will also be developed for distribution to all four NFP locations, along with the fresh produce obtained from the community garden. The funding will be used to support continued garden operations and maintenance, including the purchase of materials such as vegetable seeds and plants, fertilizer, topsoil, a new hose, tools and gloves. The funding will also be used to make repairs to the raised beds, garden shed, and perimeter fencing. The NFP community garden benefits all patients and employees of all ages and backgrounds. NFP delivers patient-centered care to the medically underserved, which includes the poorest community members. NFP also serves a large Hispanic population and is the main healthcare provider for the large refugee population in Cuyahoga County.
Number of people to be served under this program: 300

Family Vegetable Garden at Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, Inc. – The Family Vegetable Garden at Ronald McDonald House will transform an existing ornamental flower bed located off their kitchen patio into a bountiful vegetable garden. Their goal is to engage children, families, community partners and volunteers in the exciting process of growing fresh produce. Their dedicated volunteers will work alongside their guests in the dynamic process of cultivating fresh foods, providing education and an interactive and intergenerational experience. The Family Vegetable Garden will include multilingual plant identification as well as sensory components. Recipe ideas and preparation instructions will complete the farm to table cycle, introducing children and adults to new foods and shared experiences. They have a Family Meal Program, where community groups volunteer to prepare meals for all the families staying with them. They hope to use the bounty from their Family Vegetable Garden to enhance the offerings provided. The grant will be used to purchase plants, soil, children’s gloves, watering cans, and trellis and tee-pee structural supplies.
Number of people to be served under this program: Approximately 15 garden volunteers, dozens of community partners and hundreds of families.

Sisters With A Goal (SWAG.) Community Garden – SWAG’s mission is to develop a community fellowship and transformation by utilizing vacant land in the neighborhood for vegetable and flower gardens. A community garden project fulfills the need for residents to have access to fresh vegetables within the community, the need to utilize abandoned properties for positive projects and to give the community a sense of hope, fellowship, an educational experience and pride through working the land. Making the land productive will hopefully deter vandalism and other criminal activities. The women in the community are the focal point because they have a major influence on the children and the households. There are no grocery stores within walking distance in this area; therefore fresh produce is not readily available. The families here need access to healthy food choices. SWAG has a five year plan in place beginning with goals of gaining community support, acquiring tools and supplies (grant), and planting their first community garden. Hopefully, each year more land in their community can be acquired for gardens and community parks for residents to gather and the neighborhood can be transformed and revitalized. Other goals include introducing educational components for the youth of the neighborhood and the opportunity for entrepreneurial advantages from the products produced. Bethany Baptist Church is allowing use of 6,200 square feet of land for the first garden. The grant will be used towards the of purchase gardening equipment and a storage unit.
Number of people to be served under this program:  100 the first year; many more in the future.

Soldiers of the Soil; Euclid Juvenile Diversion Program - The Soldiers of the Soil Program will offer participants of the Juvenile Diversion Program an opportunity to learn about the positive elements of producing and donating fresh produce and flowers to the community and how giving to others can be more rewarding than receiving. Examples of juveniles who participate in the Diversion program are those who have been involved with fighting at school, drug possession, and trespassing on private property which required police investigation. The Diversion program is only for juveniles who will admit to the offense. Juveniles who are eligible must complete all sanctions without violating any of the conditions, and the child must not commit another crime before the age of 18. If they comply, they will have the informal diversion record destroyed. This will allow the juvenile a second chance to have a clean record for employment and higher education. The youth will be working at Memorial Park Community Garden in Euclid with an employee of the Community policing unit and adult volunteers who will instruct the juveniles in gardening and nutrition. They will provide positive relationships through mentoring and the children develop work related skills by utilizing the tools and develop personal skills such as improving focus, remaining calm, and increasing self-esteem. The grant will provide resources to purchase soil, plants, fencing, gloves and other supplies needed for the garden.
Number of juveniles participating through the gardening months: Approximately 65; 6-10 per week

Stockyard School Community Garden – The Stockyard School Community Garden will educate students and their families on farming, ecology, how to grow fresh nutritious food, and the importance of healthy food choices along with the economic benefits of growing your own food. The garden will be a teaching opportunity for many of the over 300 students at the school. They are resurrecting an old community garden as well as beautification of the property and creating a pollinator garden. They will also use the garden to foster science projects and education regarding ecology and how the system of farming and plant cycles function. Additionally, they will be teaching the students the importance of native plants to our local environment. They have started a garden club which will make this a year round activity in addition to the classroom projects. The grant will provide resources to purchase shovels, trowels, wheel barrels, composters and other supplies needed for the garden.
Number of children and family members to be served under this program: 300+

 2015 Master Gardener Grant Committee:
Barbara Franzen – Chairperson
Christine Harris
Fran Richman
Susan Shapiro
Carolyn Vrtunski


Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County 2016 Grant Recipients

MGCC received 33 applications for the 2016 grants with the total amount awarded of $6,000. For the second year of the MGCC Grants, the requests received were outstanding and decisions on awarding the grants was again difficult. The approximate number of people in Cuyahoga County to be served by these grants reaches over 3,500. We awarded 13 grants to the following organizations:

Boy Scout Antonio Schiavone  - This is a Boy Scout Eagle Project for Antonio Schiavone. He will design and build multiple watering/greenhouse benches for use in Metroparks’ hoop houses. These benches will enrich the lives of others as they serve in providing ample workspace for the planting, watering and maintenance of plants while providing educational opportunities to its participants. The benches will be used by Cleveland Metroparks staff and volunteers during plant propagation, maintenance, care and and watering of the various plants for disbursement and replanting within the widespread Metropark system. Much effort has gone into the design and construction of these benches. Antonio will lead and organize the Boy Scouts during all phases of the construction of the benches: proper design techniques, how to read and execute blue prints, physically constructing and assembly of the benches and teamwork skills.  The grant will be used to purchase the bench materials.
Number of people to be served under this program: 40+ Volunteers, staff at Metropark, Boy Scout Troop 319, and those of the public who enjoy the Metroparks!

Camp Covenant Gardening Project/Equipoise Corporation – This project will engage the 60 plus kindergarten through 8th grade children in planting, cultivating and harvesting plant and vegetables at the camp facility located at the Lutheran Church of the Covenant. They will make their garden large enough to provide fresh vegetables for the free monthly community meals sponsored by four churches. They will also make vegetables, plants and flowers available to Covenant Farmer’s Market which provides healthy food and community meals at low or no cost to the members of the community. They also will distribute vegetables to the Maple Heights Senior Center and the Maple Heights Food Pantry. This project will teach the children how to properly plant and cultivate plants and vegetables through hands-on participation on a daily basis. They will teach the children and their families to cook using the fresh vegetables they will be growing. In addition, this project will connect the children with members of the community of all ages who very much need and will appreciate their efforts. The grant will be used to buy plants, tools and fencing.
Number of people to be served under this program: 150 – 800

Canterbury Community Garden – Canterbury Community Garden, an original World War II Victory Garden located in Cleveland Heights, proposes to turn one of its unused plots into a demonstration garden. The volunteer group will build two raised beds and an information board. Several gardening techniques and varieties of vegetable plants will be demonstrated on an annual basis. The main objective of this project will be to show experienced gardeners new techniques and to give new gardeners a good start on maintaining a garden that is low on maintenance and high on production. The grant will be used towards building the raised beds and plant materials.
Number of people to be served under this program: 100+

Cleveland Heights/University Heights Public Library Coventry Branch – The Coventry Branch Library will use the grant to construct a cedar 2-bin compost system for garden waste at the Coventry Collaborative Garden. As they strive to create a more sustainable and green space, the compost system will reduce their carbon footprint, provide nutrient rich soil and serve as an invaluable educational tool. The library will host at least four educational workshops throughout the year for children, families, and community members on sustainable garden practices, healthy eating, nutrition, and the benefits of homegrown foods.
Number of people to be served under this program: 100+

Cleveland Heights/University Heights Public Library Noble Branch – The Noble Branch Library will use the grant for an expansion of the Children’s Garden program for children and families. The library staff will educate and inspire children by teaching and working alongside them in the children’s garden. Together, they will plan, plant, tend, harvest, and eat organic produce. The program is free and open to the public; last year they reached nearly 200 with the joy of gardening, educating (and learning from!) community members about growing their own food, and the importance of green space to the ecosystem. This year, they will use the grant to vamp up programing with plants, enriched soil, and child-friendly tools.
Number of people to be served under this program: 200+

Glendale Primary School – Glendale Primary School, they has a beautiful school garden and an active garden club. They utilize the garden to its full capacity in the fall and spring. The students in the garden club decided they wanted to a way to grow their own food during the school year. Through their research they discovered the Tower Garden that will allow the students to experience the complete growing cycle of a vegetable plant from beginning to end. The classroom teachers will use the Tower Garden to teach the students about the life cycle of a plant, a science academic that is taught at every grade level. Since the Tower Garden does not use soil, teachers and students will be able to compare the difference between growing vegetables and plants with or without soil. The Tower Garden will be placed in the front entrance of the school building for all students, families and community members to experience the growing garden. The grant will be used to buy the Tower Garden Growing System.
Number of people to be served under this program: 400 students

Imani Garden “I Know So I Grow” Food Literacy Program – This program will be for children ages 6 to 14 in East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and surrounding communities. Children will learn how to grow fresh produce with volunteer urban farmers, how to prepare healthy meals and snacks through hands-on cooking classes facilitated by culinary experts, and be educated on the importance of adding fresh foods to their daily lives. This program will cultivate an understanding of food from the ground up. The grant will provide resources to purchase fundamental components such as garden soil, fencing materials, hoses, garden tools and other gardening components.
Number of people to be served under this program: 20 or more families

The Kidz Kitchen Garden/Garden Valley Neighborhood House – The Kidz Kitchen Garden engages youth from pre-school to high school in a cooperative activity that supports an appreciation of nature and self-development. It teaches the complete food cycle from the ground to the table, which is very important among youth who live in a food desert and whose caretakers depend on a food pantry for their primary source of food. The Garden will educate the children on gardening practices from planting seeds, watering, weeding, composting, harvesting, planning menus and kid friendly food preparation. The project will also highlight the ability of gardening to develop and build positive interpersonal skills in children who deal with often self-defeating issues of poverty on a daily basis in both their home and in their community. The grant will be used towards constructing several raised beds, plants for sensory and pizza gardens (for pre-schoolers to improve sense of touch, smell and to prepare a healthy pizza), a wheel barrow and other garden items.
Number of people to be served under this program: 175+ 

Maple Heights Community Garden – The Maple Heights Community Garden was one of the first suburban sites, established in 2008 to bring residents working together for success and baskets of produce. Over the years, the garden has become a struggle to maintain with flooding issues, eroding plots, and with senior gardeners and school groups unable to follow through. The core group of gardeners are determined to begin anew; new ideas, better recruitment, direct involvement with their donated vegetables to Choice Pantry and continuing education to assure success. Funding is crucial to assist in building 10 raised beds to assist their senior gardeners and adding quality soil to amend existing plots.
Number of people to be served under this program: 100+

Marston Farms Garden Project/OhioGuidestone – Marston Farms provides an opportunity for children in OhioGuidestone’s Residential Treatment Programs to heal through gardening. These children have typically experienced significant trauma in their lives, and are in residential treatment to heal from their pasts. The garden is one opportunity to aide in the healing process. By planting, watering, weeding, and gathering fresh vegetables, residents are able to see firsthand how their hard work can benefit others. “Our children have had so few successful moments in their lives that the process of nurturing plants from seed to fruition can result in many positives for them,” says Jeff Ehlert, Program Facilitator. “It gives them a feeling of accomplishment, a sense of responsibility, and in cases where the plant does not survive it provides the opportunity to teach them how to manage loss, grief, and frustrations.” Gardening programs have shown that horticultural therapy helps the kids see themselves in a more positive light and helps them better manage their emotional and behavioral problems. The grant will be used to purchase needed equipment and flats of vegetables.
Number of people to be served under this program: 75+

Menorah Park Center for Senior Living Adult Day Center – The grant will be used towards an Independence Garden at Menorah Park’s Adult Day Center to incorporate a flower and vegetable garden into an existing concrete patio area. The goal of the garden is twofold, one: to provide clients with the opportunity to independently engage in meaningful activity by eliminating barriers and providing adaptive gardening tools and, two: how to use the garden as a catalyst for education, particularly malnutrition in older adults. The garden will include a sensory garden for clients with severe cognitive impairment, bilingual plant identification to meet the needs of Russian speaking clients, raised beds for those in wheelchairs and those unable to kneel on the ground, and adapted tools for clients with arthritis, stroke, or arm/hand disabilities. The grant will be used to purchase materials to build raised beds, soil, seeds, plants and special tools.
Number of people to be served under this program: 150 + clients and visiting children

Olmsted Falls Garden Club/Lenox Primary School Pollinator Garden – This project will result in a pollinator garden that serves as an incubator and way station for pollinators, particularly the Monarch butterfly, while providing an opportunity for education and stewardship. The OFGC will establish a Schoolyard Habitat to assist the nearby school community to use its school grounds as a learning site for wildlife conservation and cross-curricular learning. In addition to providing habitat for pollinators and educational opportunities for children, the project will also showcase ways to mitigate storm water run-off with native plants for homeowners who visit the site with their children. The grant will be used to purchase host plants for the Monarch butterfly, prairie plants and binders for all classrooms  to highlight the garden plan, plant identification, and suggested activities and curriculum.
Number of people to be served under this program: 900 children+

Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, Inc. – The Family Vegetable Garden at Ronald McDonald House, which was supported by a 2015 Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County 2015 Grant, is a huge success. It engaged children, families, community partners and volunteers in the exciting process of growing fresh produce. The food was served to their families throughout the growing season. A number of their guests were unable to participate in the growing process because they are confined to a wheelchair. The grant will provide handicapped accessibility planter boxes to their garden allowing everyone staying at the House an opportunity to cultivate fresh foods.
Number of people to be served under this program: 10-15 garden volunteers, dozens of community partners, and hundreds of families.

2016 Master Gardener Grant Committee:
Barbara Franzen - Chair
Jimmy Cannata
Christine Harris
Divina Koonce
Connie Rebich
Elizabeth Roche
Susan Shapiro
Carolyn Vrtunski
Jennifer Wey


Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County 2015 Scholarship Recipient
At the Gardeners of Greater Cleveland awards banquet on May 11, 2015, a $2,000 scholarship was awarded to Deanna Uhl of Orange High School and the Gates Mills Environmental Education Center for her studies next year at the University of Toledo, directed toward environmental engineering, with a focus on renewable energy.  Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County’s $1,000 contribution for Ms. Uhl through GGC allowed the total award of $2,000 each to two graduating high school seniors.  Ms. Uhl met MGCC’s requirements of being a Cuyahoga County resident planning to attend college in Ohio in a horticultural-related area with at least a 2.5 grade point average.  Her high school major is floriculture, and she is a member of the National Technical Honors Society.  She is a member of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association.  She has worked at Abate Greenhouses, Beechmont County Club and OfficeMax.  She has volunteered for the Cleveland Food Bank, Harpesrfield Volunteer Fire Department fundraisers and the Adopt-A-Beach Alliance for the Great Lakes.  She was on the first place district team and third place state team for horticulture competitions.  She also plays field hockey.


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