The WAGS Planning Team is pleased announce its first annual Community Gardening Seed Money Grants. Funding for the grants, totaling $1,100, was made possible by sponsors of the 2013 West Asheville Garden Stroll. The grants will support school garden projects at Vance Elementary, Hall Fletcher Elementary, and Francine Delany New School for Children, and landscaping projects at the Asheville City Schools Preschool and Sunny Point Café. Photos will be on display at the 2014 West Asheville Garden Stroll, September 13.
· Vance Elementary has a well-established Peace Garden that functions as an outdoor learning laboratory, educating the whole child and community through hands-on learning and promoting environmental stewardship, character development, and healthy lifestyles. The WAGS grant will support the planting of edibles in new areas of the school campus, starting with blueberry bushes along the sidewalk on Sulphur Springs Road.
· Hall Fletcher Elementary, along with A-B Tech and community volunteers, offers a unique project called Common Ground that combines English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, childcare, and gardening. The WAGS grant will support Common Ground’s work to improve the school garden, including construction of a clay oven which will enrich both the school’s gardening program and the ESL program.
· Francine Delany New School for Children is cultivating habitat for pollinators and initiating a “pollinator corridor” that will stretch half a mile from the school to West Asheville Park. The WAGS grant will support a micro-nursery to grow pollinator-friendly plants for planting on school property and along the corridor. The project involves students, faculty, local residents, and community organizations.
· Asheville City Schools Preschool seeks to landscape its front lawn, with the goal of creating an outdoor space that is beautiful, useful, inviting, and sustainable. The school will get help from two local businesses – Flora and Villagers – as well as parents, a mural artist, and the Asheville School’s service learning program. The WAGS grant will support soil amendments, plants, and gardening supplies.
· Sunny Point Café is known and loved for its gardens as well as its food. The café seeks to reestablish a flower garden in a strip between the sidewalk and State Street that the city recently dug up to repair a water line. The WAGS grant will help Sunny Point to beautify this small but high-traffic, high-visibility area.