Community Garden Planning Grant

Community Garden Planning Grant

We are no longer accepting applications for this grant.

Open Your Heart’s Community Garden Planning grants are targeted toward determining the feasibility of developing a community garden for hunger relief programs, principally food shelves or programs that distribute food to hungry people.

MISSION: Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless believes that every Minnesotan should be free from hunger and homelessness. We make an impact by partnering with those who serve people in need, growing donor engagement, and increasing awareness.


MAXIMUM GRANT: $3,000. We anticipate garden planning efforts to equal $1,500 – $3,000 depending on the size of the garden and amount of people involved in decision making, as these would result in more meetings.

DUE DATE: March 15th, 2015


  • Agencies must serve hungry and homeless Minnesotans.
  • Agencies must have 501(c)3 status OR be recognized as tax exempt by the the IRS (i.e. schools, units of government or tribal governments) OR use a fiscal agent with 501(c)3 status.
  • Organizations must not limit service based on individual’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, or disability.

Grant funds are to be used to help agencies determine whether operating a community garden is a feasible and desirable undertaking. Developing a garden is an investment of time and resources. Usually, it is necessary to conduct soil testing, assess water capacity and landscaping needs, apply for permits, determine storage and refrigeration capacity, equipment needs, etc. It is also critical that agencies assess their organizational capacity to determine whether they can effectively recruit and manage the additional volunteers or staff to operate a garden.

We encourage applicants to consider hiring consultants specializing in developing community gardens to help their organization through this process. You will find links to contractors and other resources that can assist applicants.  We have also provided links to some food shelves in Minnesota that currently operate gardens.

Use of grant funds may include:

  • Hiring consultant to guide agency through the process, assessing feasibility, developing timelines and budgets, developing an implementation plan.
  • Contracting with firm to conduct soil and water testing.
  • Pay necessary permit or other fees.
  • Pay for food, supplies, materials, and other costs associated with holding meetings to engage board, staff, and community stakeholders in planning process.
  • Funding for dedicated staff hours to planning project, up to $1,000.

Grantees are encouraged to hire outside expertise to coordinate the planning process. Open Your Heart will provide contact information of vendors specializing in community garden development, but grantees may use any qualified consultant they choose. Since the purpose of a Planning Grant is to determine feasibility, grantees are not required to develop a garden as condition of receiving or expending funds.

Agencies already operating gardens who wish to be considered for grants for equipment, storage, refrigeration, etc., should apply through our regular grant process and not through this RFP.  See our website for information on Hunger and Homeless Grants for this information.

Note: The garden you are planning does not need to be open to the public/community to work on, it could be volunteers or staff that work the garden.

Funds must be expended by April 20, 2016.

Community Garden Design & Start Up consultation includes a walk-through of the process of designing a community garden with the greatest potential for produce yields and community building. Workshops are interactive and participatory, with a focus on exercises that garden groups can replicate in their own communities. We can tailor workshops to specific audiences, depending on the group’s needs. Participants will explore their visions for their gardens, learn consensus-building and outreach principles, and walk through planning exercises. Everyone should leave with principles, tips, and practical ideas along with a draft design for your community garden.

Charge examples, may vary:

  • 2-3 hours of phone consultation: $100
  • In person 1/2 day group workshop: $500
  • On-going follow up design and skills building, 2 hours: $150 (plus mileage)
  • A package process that includes initial phone consultation, 1/2 training and ongoing follow ups over several months: $1500

See for more resources on creating a community garden including start-up guides.

Please note: This is just one example, garden planning consultation can be with anyone or any agency you choose.


  • Applications and attachments must be emailed to OYH by the deadline to be considered for review at the next board meeting. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed until all information is received.
  • The Grant Review Committee will review and evaluate each request based on the information included in the application.
  • It is important that each application be as specific as possible about the need for the project and the cost of the project components.
  • Upon review of the application, the Grant Review Committee may request additional information via email, a telephone interview, or a site visit. Please note that cover letters, correspondences with OYH staff, and other attachments that are not required (i.e. brochures) will not be reviewed by the committee.
  • As one of the few funders that support programs throughout the state, OYH receives far more eligible applications than we can fund. Careful consideration is given to each application and grants are awarded based on needs in the community, impact of grant, and the ability of agency to carry out grant objectives.
  • The OYH Board of Directors considers Grant Review Committee recommendations and makes the final decision on each complete application. The Board reserves the right to reject any application or portion thereof.

Applying for or receiving a Community Garden Planning Grant does not preclude applicant from applying for any other OYH grant in 2015.

Your agency agrees to follow OYH requirements for closing out its grant by submitting an application. By completing this form, your agency is assuring OYH that your organization has spent the grant funds in accordance with your original request. Please note: This grant does not require the development of a garden; however it does require that you report on your study results. Your agency must complete the closure form and unused funds must be sent to OYH within 45 days of the grant’s use to be in compliance with OYH grant requirements and to be eligible for future funding from OYH.

Open Your Heart will provide a closure form once grants are awarded.

Contact Open Your Heart staff at 612-338-5577 or email [email protected].

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