College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Community Garden COVID Response and Enhancement Stipends

Twenty-two North Carolina community gardens have been awarded stipends of up to $1,000 to enhance their gardens or make COVID-19-related purchases through a new program led by Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T and funded by the NC Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation. 

The awards, announced in July 2021, are part of a larger effort in partnership with the North Carolina Community Garden Partners (NCCGP) to strengthen the state’s network of community gardens, build the leadership capacities of community gardeners, and connect community gardens to local, regional, and statewide food system transformation efforts. Another facet of the program is the Community Garden Leadership Academy (CGLA), a regionally based program where professionals with Extension at A&T will teach leadership skills and help gardeners obtain county support for their gardens. Gardeners who complete the CGLA will be eligible to apply for stipends in collaboration with other gardens. 

The awards are the first of three rounds of stipends for community garden enhancements. The application period for the second round of stipends will open to the public in December 2021 and awards will be announced in February 2022. 

“This project is about community empowerment,” said M. Alyssa McKim, community garden coordinator with Extension at N.C. A&T. “These funds will strengthen community gardens, keep gardeners safe, and will put them in a better position to engage with food system initiatives across the state. This is one way to address the problem of food deserts and the inequities they cause.” 

Gardens that received stipends were required to participate in COVID-19 Response Training offered by Extension at A&T. The online training walked gardeners through the process of developing a garden response plan and addressed safe food handling, gardening best practices, and resources available to help gardens operate in a safe and healthy way. All community gardens in North Carolina are eligible for the stipends; however, the awards prioritize gardens in the 40 most economically distressed counties in the state. Examples of how the stipends can be used include installing handwashing stations, putting up signage that promotes health and garden safety, or purchasing gloves, compost, or tools.

The 2021 Community Garden COVID Response and Enhancement Stipend recipients are:

  • Taft Broom Community Garden, Catawba County
  • Waccamaw Siouan Tribe, Columbus County
  • Town of Sandyfield Community Garden, Columbus County
  • Thomasville Parks and Recreation, Davidson County
  • DNA Community Garden, Duplin County
  • Urban Community AgriNomics (UCAN), Durham County
  • Neighborhood’s Hands, Forsyth County
  • Greene County Cooperative Extension, Greene County
  • Community Interactive Learning Garden, Guilford County
  • New Hope Community Development (Guilford)
  • Poplar Grove, Guilford County
  • South Side Community Garden, Guilford County
  • Meherrin Indian Tribe, Hertford County
  • Integrity CDC Community Gardens, Lenoir County
  • Martin County Cooperative Extension, Martin County
  • Tabernacle Community Garden, McDowell County
  • Bethel Community Garden, Pitt County
  • Rooted in Community Farmville Garden, Pitt County
  • Hitchcock Green Community Garden, Richmond County
  • Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County, Wayne County
  • Little Washington Growing Group, Wayne County