Designed to engage local volunteers to take action to benefit their community with projects that focus on critical needs, the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant is being put to very good use in the State of Georgia.
In August 2017, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful received a $20,000 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant. Representing a collaborative effort among Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), Monarchs Across Georgia and the Captain Planet Foundation, the grant has funded the creation of edible and pollinator “learning gardens” at 11 Gwinnett County Public Schools through the project “Plant it Forward.”
“Above and beyond the fact that these gardens are all growing and producing phenomenal results, Plant It Forward represents an opportunity for us to foster a new generation of environmental stewards right here in Gwinnett County,” said Schelly Marlatt, executive director for Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful. “They are learning the value of conservation and sustainability, as well as the fact that growing your own food and protecting our pollinators can be both rewarding and FUN. We are truly grateful to Keep America Beautiful and Lowe’s for awarding us with this grant, as well as our incredible partners at GCPS, Monarchs Across Georgia and the Captain Planet Foundation for their participation in the program. We love that Plant It Forward has touched so many lives – from the teachers and volunteers who helped build the gardens, to the students who helped plant and maintain the gardens, to the pollinators and families who get to benefit from the gardens. It’s truly amazing what we can do when we all work together.”
Participating schools in the Plant It Forward project include: Grayson and Meadowcreek High, Couch and Radloff Middle, Pharr, Grayson, Trip, Starling, Ferguson, Nesbit and Rockbridge Elementary Schools. The results to date represent over 5,100 volunteers putting in more than 10,500 volunteer hours to build, plant, maintain and harvest the gardens.
Since the project launch in September 2017, more than 1,200 pollinators – including bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and wasps – have been recorded in the gardens at all 11 campuses, and over 86 pounds of edible produce have been collected. The edible gardens consisted of lettuce, radishes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, rainbow chard, cabbage and broccoli. All of the produce was harvested, weighed and tasted by the students. Any excess produce was donated to the local food co-op.