Again in 2016, the diocesan Social Justice and Outreach (SJO) Committee will offer grants to fund garden initiatives. For the last three years, the diocesan SJO Committee has offered a few small grants to support the efforts of creating and sustaining parish-based vegetable gardens. Four grants were given in 2013, and in 2014 and 2015, six grants were given. The increase in the number of garden grants was made possible by donations from the St. Paul's, Mount Lebanon, and Christ Church, North Hills, outreach commissions as well as a private donor in order to supplement the limited SJO annual budget. The SJO notes that any parish or individual desiring to donate to this effort should contact the diocesan office or Nancy Lapp, chair of SJO.
In 2015, one new garden and five established gardens received funding. St. Matthew's in Homestead constructed a new garden. Established gardens receiving funding were those at Holy Cross in Homewood, St. Brendan's in Franklin Park, Calvary Camp, St. David's in Peters Township, and Spring Street Farms at the Community of Celebration in Aliquippa. Recipients in previous years included Shepherd's Wellness in Bloomfield and St. Stephen's in Wilkinsburg.
Applying for a garden grant: These grants are intended to support Episcopal parishes and organizations in the Diocese of Pittsburgh to create new vegetable gardens or to support already functioning gardens with small material needs such as: seed or plant purchases, fencing, bed construction, soil or fertilizer purchases, soil testing costs, hand tool purchases, water connections, rain barrels, etc. Depending on the location and circumstance, we expect that produce grown will be distributed through local food pantries or organization-based outreach efforts. In past years, some gardens have played a significant role in youth education.These grants are not intended to support an exclusive or private garden, nor a garden designed solely for decorative purposes.  We have prepared a guide to setting up a small garden; this guide is available by contacting Pat Eagon. Should your garden be selected, implementation will be in late winter/early spring, 2016.
The maximum grant request for this program should be no more than $500. Funds are to be used in the calendar year 2016 unless an extension is submitted and approved by the SJO committee. Priority will be given to those applications that seek to start new gardens, but the committee will also consider applications seeking to sustain existing gardens that meet the eligibility described in the application. Application forms are available here and are due via mail postmark by March 10, 2016, or electronically by March 15, 2016. 

Any questions regarding eligibility can be directed to Nancy Lapp, Chair of SJO, at or Pat Eagon at

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