Funds available to plant community and school orchards, gardens

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says $52,500 is available to help North Dakota communities and schools plant orchards and gardens in 2018.

Communities and schools are eligible to apply for grants of $500 to $7,500. The grants are available on a competitive basis.

A community orchard project can help foster community spirit, provide service hours to individuals in a community and can be used as an outdoor living classroom for education in local schools,” Goehring said. “Projects with a focus on education are especially needed.”

Goehring said grant funds can be used for plants, trees, planting supplies, soil amendments, irrigation and fencing supplies, but not permanent structures, the purchase of land or capital expenditures. Grand funds are for new projects and not the continuation of existing projects.

“This is the fifth year of funding for these grants with 45 past recipients,” he added. “We’ve seen these projects bring communities together and provide an example for others.”

Application forms for the grants are available on the NDDA website at https://www.nd.gov/ndda/marketing-information-division/local-foods/community-orchard-project.

Grant applications must be received by Jan. 12, 2018.

Goehring said questions about the grant program should be directed to Jamie Good, local foods marketing specialist at (701) 328-2659 or jgood@nd.gov.

The North Dakota Community Orchard Project is part of NDDA’s Local Foods Initiative, funded through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.