Community

Olympia's GRuB receives AARP’s Community Challenge Grant

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OLYMPIA - Garden-Raised Bounty (also known as “GRuB”) was one of four Washington state organizations to be awarded AARP’s Community Challenge Grant on August 20. This grant program is a part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities Initiative, which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. The organization has built free backyard gardens for low-income families in the South Puget Sound since 1993. Since then, they have collaborated with community members to build 3,000 backyard gardens.

“In this time of great need, Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB)’s Garden Project is on the ground, bringing joy and resiliency through the gift of gardens,”  said Deb Crockett, Executive Director of GruB, in a press release. “With AARP’s generous support GRuB will be able to safely bring free backyard and community gardens to adult community residents.”

Each spring, GRuB partners with veterans, individuals, families, and organizations to not only build backyard vegetable gardens. They also work throughout Thurston County to provide the public access to knowledge and resources needed to grow fresh, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods. “Prior to COVID-19, GRuB had planned to build a total of 35 backyard gardens for families with low incomes (including seniors, but not all for seniors). Due to increased isolation and uncertainty, we now plan to build 150 gardens in total. All of the gardens built through AARP funds will be in active-adult (55+) communities.” said Beau Gromley, GRuB Community Food Solutions Manager, in an email with the JOLT.

 According to the AARP, gardens increase food security at home and can provide hundreds of meals annually, increasing long-term resiliency and wellbeing. In addition, gardens allow people to connect with physically distant family and friends through learning together, sharing photos, and garden recipes. This form of socialization is critical, especially with older adults ages 55+.

A press release issued by the AARP states that the garden project is part of the largest number of Community Challenge Grants to date, with more than $2.4 million awarded among 184 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“We are incredibly excited to support Garden-Raised Bounty as they work to make immediate improvements around Thurston County, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change,” said Doug Shadel, AARP Washington State Director, in a press release. “Our goal at AARP Washington is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities and the coronavirus pandemic has only underscored the importance of this work.”

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