LiveWell mini-grants fund parks and gardens in the community

Seven local groups receive mini-grants totaling $19,457

September 23, 2015

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – LiveWell Garfield County has recently awarded $19,457 to local entities, in the second installment of mini-grants awarded for 2015. The fall grant cycle compliments $20,793 in mini-grant funds awarded in spring of this year, totaling $40,250 for the year. This is the second year that LiveWell Garfield County has awarded approximately $40,000 to local community applicants.

The most recent round of funding will enhance projects focusing on gardening, reading education, and nutritional education.

The Town of New Castle and Sopris Elementary received two large grants. The Town of New Castle will implement $5,000 for its Pocket Park program. The park will incorporate gardening education for school children, while serving as an activity place for residents and visitors to its downtown area. Amenities will include space for gardening, art, and sculpture, a stage, central gathering spaces for rest and interaction, a bike rack, and a water feature.

Sopris Elementary in Glenwood Springs receives $5,000 for materials and equipment to implement healthier celebrations in the classroom and more active recess engagement for students. The Celebration Box project offers teachers a way to reward students for achievements without the use of unhealthy foods. Teachers simply ‘check out’ a box that contains fun healthy rewards the kids can use during an approved time. These items may include movement-based games and equipment such as balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, scooters, or even a portable speaker to encourage dance. Space is severely limited at Sopris Elementary, so its ‘movement barn’ will house equipment in a location that is easily accessible for outside recess or indoor use.

One of LiveWell Garfield County’s main areas of focus is on healthy eating and nutrition. This round of grants offered funding to three community groups for gardening projects. The Bookcliff Arts Council in Rifle received a total of $5,000 for equipment in its community garden, as well as garden expansion. A partial funding of $1,000 went to Good Seed Community Garden of Carbondale for upgrading gardening equipment, continuing its gleaning project efforts, and educational outreach to the community. Abundance Garden in Parachute received $500 for the purchase of seeds and seedlings, replacement tools, harvesting baskets, straw and fencing.

LiveWell Garfield County is granting nutritional services programs from Roaring Fork School Districts RE-1 and RE-2 and Garfield County School District 16 $3,600 for staff training boot camps with a LiveWell food chef. Selected school staff will learn valuable information about nutrition, dietary recommendations, cooking skills, cutlery, and healthy alternatives in food preparation, for in turn, educating students and community members.

In Glenwood Springs, the Garfield County Public Library District received $2,053 for its Story Walk project. The Story Walk project is a self-directed learning opportunity that places a children’s story (a deconstructed picture book) along a walking route, park, or open space. The project directly supports active living, S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for children, encouraging the development of family reading habits, and providing a gateway activity to connect children with the outdoors.

Funding projects are diversifying, as from Carbondale to Parachute, LiveWell Garfield County is making a positive impact in communities throughout the county. Some previous projects funded include cooking education, multi-use community paths and trails, gardening and food growing education.

For more information about the grants, goals of the organization, and programs, contact LiveWell Garfield County Coordinator Dana Wood, at 970-625-5200, ext. 8121.

LiveWell Colorado is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing obesity in Colorado, by promoting healthy eating and active living. In addition to educating and inspiring people to make healthy choices, LiveWell Colorado focuses on policy, environmental and lifestyle changes that remove barriers and increase access to healthy behaviors. Working in partnership with obesity prevention initiatives across the state, LiveWell Colorado aims to provide every Coloradan with access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity in the places they live, work, learn, and play.