Limiting kids’ screen time was hard enough before the pandemic, and it has only gotten more difficult in the months since social distancing and e-learning became the norm.
The uptick in blue-filtered light has caused more than a precipitous drop in vitamin D among youngsters — they’re missing out on valuable social, physical and emotional development opportunities, too. Parents, meanwhile, say policing the polygon intake has been a major source of anxiety.
Sometimes, high-tech problems call for low-tech solutions.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and national nonprofit KidsGardening say encouraging kids to get their hands dirty working in a garden — whether at a school, neighborhood greenspace or even the backyard — has some powerful benefits, from increased access to fresh food to the therapeutic nature of digging in the soil.
Stories of their sanative effects abound, according to Foundation president Jim King, who announced this week that Scotts Miracle-Gro has opened applications for this year’s edition of the GroMoreGood Grassroots Grants program, in partnership with KidsGardening.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the stories of resiliency and perseverance from our GroMoreGood garden grantees,” he said. “People have turned to gardening to support their communities in unique and meaningful ways, providing food and comfort to those who need it most. It’s an honor for us to contribute to this work, and we consider it our responsibility to support more of it.”
KidsGardening executive director Em Shipman added, “We are continually amazed by the creativity and perseverance of educators and community leaders when it comes to their garden programs. From take-home hydroponic kits to teen-led food donation gardens, we know this grant has enabled communities to meet the needs of kids and their families in so many different ways. We can’t wait to see what the next crop of grantees will do.”
The annual grant program aims to make gardening accessible to more children. Through it and the foundation’s other efforts, Scotts Miracle-Gro hopes to reach 10 million kids with garden and greenspace programming across the U.S. by 2023.
The GroMoreGood Grassroots Grants will fund all types of community-driven garden and greenspace projects that directly engage youth, including school and community gardens, urban farms, pollinator gardens and outdoor playscapes.
ScottsMiracle-Gro said because of the unpredictable challenges that may occur due to COVID-19, the uses for Grassroots Grants have expanded to allow organizations to use the funding for emerging needs in their community, such as at-home garden kits for families.
The application window runs through Feb. 4 at 2:59 a.m. EST.
ScottsMiracle-Gro will award 175 grants in all, ranging from $500 to $1,000. Selections will be awarded based on youth engagement, community impact, and sustainability, among other factors. Winners will be announced March 20.