Downers Grove, IL

Garden Therapy Grant of $5000 Available for Interested Illinois Folk (and Also Other States)

Synthia Stark by Jed Owen on Unsplash

If you’re in Downers Grove, Illinois, the combined forces of the National Garden Bureau, Sakata Seed America, and American Meadows have created a $5000 grant for three outstanding and well-deserved therapeutic gardens within North America. Corona Tools will also provide a generous donation of quality gardening tools for each of the three winning garden entries.

The People and Organizations Behind This

For those not in the know, The National Garden Bureau, headquartered in Downers Grove, is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1920. The organization basically has the mission to make sure that home gardeners are equipped with the foundational knowledge to garden well.

Each year, The National Garden Bureau would publish fact sheets and sponsor programs so that people are able to better understand the world of home gardening, including information on diet, food, and so much more. Plus, The National Garden Bureau is a big supporter of cultivating therapeutic gardens and therapeutic gardening grants. by Eddie Junior on Unsplash

Back in 2014, the National Garden Bureau launched this therapy garden campaign as a means of providing philanthropy to the greater Illinois community. Since 2014, the National Garden Bureau has given over $40,000 to support various therapeutic gardens.

American Meadows is a major online retailer that has been supplying peoples’ gardens with vegetable seeds, flower bulbs, perennial plants, and wildflower seeds across North America. It was founded in 1981. American Meadows is a big fan of making gardeners succeed and is a big fan of gardeners obtaining knowledge while working diligently.

Meanwhile, Sakata Seed America is a research-based company, that does marketing and distribution, alongside vegetable and flower seed production. Sakata Seed America is a big fan of giving back to the community, especially for those who want to improve the lives of their communities through the power of gardening. by Jonas on Unsplash

Finally, Corona Tools, founded in 1928, is in the business of offering professional lawn and garden tools. It’s sort of explanatory why they are offering their services — to bring greater awareness while improving the lives of others.

The Point of This Grant

The goal of this initiative is to educate, motivate, and inspire new generations of gardeners and help out existing veterans of the field. Last year, in 2021, the very act of gardening improved the quality of life for many people in Downers Grove, Illinois. Improving one’s quality of life is important since we only have one life to live and we have to make our time and effort count.

Nature is well-known to be helpful for people who need something meaningful to do, especially in the comforts of their own community. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticultural therapies are helpful and time-proven practices that have generated a lot of interest during these trying times. by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Across the world, horticultural therapies can help people learn new practical life skills training, while also teaching them the patience and self-discipline needed to make wonderful and beautiful gardens. When you have a therapeutic garden, even here in Downers Grove, Illinois, you can be sure that it can help heal some of the pain that most people are experiencing during this time.

How to Apply For This Grant

If you wanted to, you can apply for this famous and valuable grant. Garden applications are still being accepted. For now, you just need to meet some pretty cool criteria, which will be broken down into easy-to-understand language:

  • First, the garden (or gardens) need to be in a place where occupational, physical, vocational, and/or rehabilitation therapy occurs. For example, if there is a lot of human and plant activity that provides service, such as mental health therapy, then you’re on the right track.
  • Thus, these gardens need to be defined as having a therapeutic program, where there is at least a Horticultural Therapist that is on-staff or is there as an advisor. The garden has to help individuals achieve goals associated with any of the earlier mentioned therapies. by pixpoetry on Unsplash
  • Secondly, these gardens must be also associated with many positive outcomes and skills, such as job training, food growing, socialization, skills-building, environmental education, improved quality of life, and/or any positive gain and outcome.
  • Thirdly, these gardens require a high number of students, visitors, patients, clients, and/or gardeners that visit such sites that visit across a monthly basis (or more).
  • Fourthly, these gardens had to have been in existence for either 1 year or more.

If you meet all of these criteria, you can fill out this horticultural grant application form and be ready to answer the questions and upload some pictures too. This form would be due by June 30, 2021. by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The Aftermath of Applying

A panel of experts in horticultural therapy will figure out and narrow down the application to a final three situations. Then, the top three will submit a one-minute video that features their program. This video would be shared on social media.

Afterward, the public would vote from September 10, 2021, all the way to September 24, 2021. The one who receives the most votes will receive the full $3000, while the second and third-place finishers will end up getting $1000 each.

In previous years, some of the grant recipients included: Allies, Inc. in Hamilton, New Jersey, The Learning Garden in Los Angeles, California, and the Capper Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. As you can see, any state is eligible to apply, but there’s a chance that anyone in Downers Grove is fair game too.

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Writer & Researcher | Therapist-in-Training | Crisis Responder | Writing wholesome stories for the masses.

New York City, NY

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