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Building Long-term Relationships with Diverse Community Groups


June 09, 2022

GCA Announces Five Common Ground Collaborative Grant Recipients

In 2021, The Garden Club of America created the Common Ground Collaborative (CGC) grant to support GCA member clubs in building long-term relationships with diverse community groups to develop, improve, and maintain public land and programs. Each year, the GCA will award five CGC grants at $10,000 each. This year, GCA is proud to announce the following five winners of the CGC grant: Green Spring Valley Garden Club, Little Garden Club of Columbus, Piedmont Garden Club, Albemarle Garden Club, and Little Rock Garden Club. Each of these applicants proposed projects that embraced the purpose and intent of the new CGC grant.

Green Spring Valley Garden Club

Green Spring Valley Garden Club (GSVG) proposed working with Johnston Square/ReBuild Metro, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the history and prosperity of neighborhoods by rebuilding homes helping to foster enduring community relationships with a focus on divested communities of East Baltimore. The Green Spring Valley Garden Club will collaborate with local groups to rebuild six vacant lots/pocket parks transforming them into active green space in the Johnston Square. All six parks are a few blocks from the Johnston Square Elementary School. Students from the school will be actively engaged in this project. In addition to collaborating with the community organizations to rebuild these parks, GSVG will work with Regina Hammond, founder and executive director of the Rebuild Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization to help establish a community garden club named Beautification Garden Club. 

Little Garden Club of Columbus

Little Garden Club of Columbus (LGCC) will work with Franklinton Farms to establish two new pollinator, edible, and medicinal gardens and to maintain six existing gardens throughout Franklinton. These gardens are in high trafficked, high need areas. Franklinton is a USDA-classified food desert and many of its neighbors have been functionally excluded from enjoying nutritious, fresh foods. There are four program areas: Regenerative Urban Agriculture, Food Access, Garden Education, and Beautification. LGCC has partnered with Franklinton Farms since 2017 and with this grant they will complete the project, working closely with landscape architect Jodie Kinney. The program relies on the volunteers from the LGCC members and all new members of the LGCC are required to volunteer accompanied by their sponsors.

Piedmont Garden Club

Piedmont Garden Club (PGC) will collaborate with the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, a community center serving the ethnically diverse Fruitvale district of Oakland, California. The Fruitvale district has few green spaces, the highest percentage of children of any Oakland district, and the highest concentration of Native Americans in the Bay area. The Peralta Hacienda Historical Park provides gathering space for various cultural communities and serves as a bridge between people and nature, people of different cultures, and people of different generations and abilities. The focus will be on environmental education and stewardship. PGC will collaborate on the restoration of the native plant garden and expand the small pollinator garden and native plant riparian habitat along the Peralta Creek, as well as assist in the monthly clean-up days by providing landscape maintenance guidance and educational programs to further expand its reach into this underserved community. PGC will also work with the Water Keepers youth program and the ACE summer camp.

Albemarle Garden Club

Albemarle Garden Club (AGC) will expand its collaboration with Booker T. Washington Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. AGC has worked with the city of Charlottesville for over twenty years in the development of the Bog Garden in the park as members removed invasives, planted new natives, and picked up trash. With the CGC grant they will work with area teachers of middle school children to create interesting hands-on experiences of learning and exploration of invasive and native plants of the area and learn more about the insects living in their pollinator hotel. AGC will further develop a middle-school curriculum to teach local children about the native flora and fauna of the wetland space. Booker T. Washington Park is one of the few centrally located city parks with a densely populated and racially and economically diverse surrounding community. AGC will work with two collaborating organizations: Wildrock and the Burley Restoration Initiative. Burley High School, now Burley Middle School, was the first segregated high school in Charlottesville. AGC will also work with the Equity Center of the University of Virginia to continue the improvements to the park and host listening events supporting the mission of the Burley Restoration Initiative.

Little Rock Garden Club

Little Rock Garden Club (LRGC) will build on the club’s collaborative work on the Covey at Gillam Park, an innovative partnership of diverse community groups and professional agencies working together to restore seven and a half acres of a thirty-acre oak savannah on the Little Rock Audubon Center campus. LRGC will work side by side with the ACCESS Life young adults to collect, clean, store, and plant seeds to restore the native open habitat of the savannah. The community served, Granite Mountain, is an underserved historic African American community in Little Rock. Gillam Park was the first public park in Little Rock accessible to the Granite Mountain community prior to integration. This project started as a Partners for Plants project and has continued to grow.

Peralta Creek Area

Booker T. Washington Park

Franklinton Farms Learning Garden


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