Community Grant 2014 Finalists
Calling All Members...
to vote for your favorite non-profit organization from among the following list of finalists for the 2014 Community Grant. Voting is now underway and runs through April 15. The winner will be announced at the General Membership meeting on April 17 at Traverse City Central High School.
The finalists are:
- T.C. Community Garden
- Invasive Species Network of Northwest Michigan
- Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan
You must be a current member in order to vote.
Read about the three finalists below, get your ballot from Customer Service, choose one organization, and place your ballot in in the large, green ballot can next to the Customer Service desk. (Members must ask for their ballot in person. Family members may not pick up your ballot.)
T.C. Community Garden
The TC Community Garden, located at the Historic Barns Park at the Grand Traverse Commons, has allowed families to grow their own food since 2003, but in all the years of the garden’s existence, water has been a great challenge. Gardeners have had to rely on direct rainfall, rainwater collected from a nearby roof, haul water from home or a nearby creek, or fill barrels and cisterns by dragging hundreds of feet of garden hose snaking from a generator-powered well pump that is shared with the adjacent SEEDS garden.
The pump is slated to have a permanent source of electricity installed this year, and along with this long-awaited improvement, the garden needs a permanent irrigation system to deliver the water directly into the garden. We are asking for funds to install an irrigation system so gardeners can at long last have water on demand to water their plots.
We also need to improve the fencing to keep the deer out, which like to snack on gardeners’ strawberries and peas. We share a fence with SEEDS and their portion of the fence is deer appropriate but our portion is not. We would like to heighten the fence another two feet to deer-proof the garden and also keep deer out of the SEEDS garden, as well as improve the gates and add one additional gate.
The mission of the T.C. Community Garden is to provide a place for members of the community to gather and share a common interest in organic gardening in an urban setting, to provide educational opportunities to the community that foster an appreciation for sustainable growing practices, and to grow fresh produce for distribution to local food banks. The addition of convenient irrigation and improved fencing will greatly enhance the garden’s ability to fulfill its mission.
Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network
Note: the ISN grant request has changed. See changes below.
As an organization with strong ties to environmental stewardship, community involvement, education, and the local economy, the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN) is closely aligned with Oryana’s guiding principles and goals. ISN is a collaboration of over 30 regional organizations that work to protect, enhance, and promote northwest Michigan’s natural communities through terrestrial invasive plant management and outreach in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee Counties. This proposal seeks to reduce invasive plant waste that will otherwise end up in the landfill while increasing community awareness about the critical role of native plants to wildlife.
If awarded, the Oryana Community Grant will be used to fund invasive garlic mustard work bees in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee Counties. The events will engage volunteers in a brief tutorial on plant identification and pulling techniques and then explore our regions natural areas to hand pull and remove this invasive plant.
The garlic mustard greens will then be dried and sent to Paperworks Studio, a local non-profit organization that hires artists with disabilities and disadvantages to create beautiful handmade recycled paper and greeting cards, for use in their brand new line of garlic mustard paper called Habitat Matters. The garlic mustard greens will then be used for events serving garlic mustard (volunteer luncheons), offered to volunteers to take home and eat on their own, and finally, taken to a Benzie County farm to be used as livestock fodder. After hand pulling populations, volunteers will gather to discuss the effects of this invasive plant on our wildlife habitats and enjoy a catered lunch made with this edible herb. ISN is asking for $5,800 to be spent on staff time to coordinate the events and dry the plant material, hiring local caterers, renting a facility to host the events at, and advertisement. Thank you for considering our grant application.
Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan
Food Rescue is launching a matching grant program – Food Rescue’s Fresh Food Fund. This initiative will incentivize food pantries to stock their shelves with local fresh and vegetables instead of food from processed sources. Every dollar a pantry spends at a local farm will be matched by the Food Rescue’s Fresh Food Fund*. This will double the amount of money food pantries spend on local produce and the amount of sales to farmers.
Our grant will help pantries to build meaningful buying relationships with local farmers for stocking their shelves. They’ve never had an incentive to do so, and it may never have been as affordable as it would be with matching funds available. Initiating these contacts will create a lasting change - a culture shift for the pantries. From purchased/processed - to a “farm to table” shift for the pantries.
A gift from Oryana will be combined with a portion of revenue from the 2014 Empty Bowls fundraiser. Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan is hosting our region’s Empty Bowls™ fundraiser. Empty Bowls is a grassroots effort to fight hunger. Area artists create handcrafted bowls to symbolize hungry people whose bowls are empty. At the event, guests are served a meal of soup and bread and receive a hand-made bowl to take home. Revenue will be generated through donations, ticket sales and a silent auction; and a portion of net revenue raised at the event will be used for the matching grant program.
*The size of Food Rescue’s Fresh Food Fund is dependent upon the amount of revenue generated at Empty Bowls and partnering support from requests like this.