By combining $2,500 grants with additional resources — such as webinars, AARP Livable Communities publications, one-on-one coaching with leading national organizations — the 2023 AARP Community Challenge Capacity-Building Microgrants benefit residents through walkability and community gardening projects. The 75 grantees listed below are among the 310 grants made as part of the 2023 AARP Community Challenge.
- Scroll down to see the grantees list
- Learn about this grant opportunity by watching the video below
Capacity-Building Microgrants for Community Gardens
- Eufaula: Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Barbour County
This project will create a community garden equipped with at least five raised beds for growing flowers and vegetables, as well as three accessible benches. All the food grown there will be provided to local low-income families.
- Ketchikan: Rendezvous Senior Day Service
This project will add six raised beds to a garden plot and purchase plants to give older adults the opportunity to grow vegetables and flowers while receiving the physical and mental benefits of gardening.
- Cottonwood: Verde Valley Homeless Coalition
This project will teach people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity how to grow their own food, and provide them with a garden space that can increase self-sufficiency and improve diets with fresh produce.
- Pine Bluff: Grace Gardening Inc
This grant will support a new community garden program that provides raised beds and ergonomic benches to accommodate older gardeners, while also offering summer "Yoga in the Garden" sessions.
- Arcata: Arcata House Partnership
This project will support a community garden for a 60-unit apartment complex serving previously unhoused people to improve their nutrition and provide opportunities to socialize. It will include raised garden beds and accessible paths to accommodate residents who have limited mobility.
- Willimantic: Town of Windham Human Services
The project will create a community gardening program to help older adults grow food locally. It will enrich the design of a new green space at a senior center and will provide tools and weekly group sessions led by a master gardener.
- Seaford: Seaford Community Garden
The project will expand community gardens and raise vegetables for consumption by residents. The program waives seasonal fees for local veterans, most of whom are aged 50+.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
- Washington: Vida Senior Centers
This project will create a community garden for low-income older adults, many of whom live in apartment complexes without outdoor space. The volunteer gardeners will grow produce typically used in Latin American cuisine. The crops will then be distributed to members of the community.
- Florida City: Sprout Up
This project will use aeroponic gardening as an alternative to traditional gardening methods, bringing residents of various ages together to cultivate plants. The produce will go to community fridges and choice pantries, where older people can obtain food at no cost.
- Stone Mountain and Decatur: Global Growers Network
This project will benefit people from diverse cultures, including new Americans, by enhancing two community farms and providing the opportunity to grow food for their families.
- Winchester: Winchester Community Library Community Garden
This project will turn a public patio and outdoor space at a library into a community garden, which will include garden beds and ADA-accessible benches. The library will provide programming focused on sustainability and fostering healthy, safe and food-secure communities.
- Rushville: Schuyler County Mental Health Association
This project will turn a vacant lot into a wheelchair-accessible community garden with 25 raised flower and produce garden beds for group therapy, educational and mindfulness sessions. All produce will go to a 24-hour community food pantry for those in need.
- Indianapolis: Still Waters Adult Day Center
This project will revitalize a languishing garden and make it inviting and accessible for people of all ages to plant and enjoy flowers, herbs and vegetables. Community members will be able to reserve plots and raised beds will ensure the garden’s accessibility for older people and their caregivers.
- Chariton: Chariton Free Public Library
This project will transform land adjacent to the library into an accessible gathering space and sensory garden, which will be open year-round and offer educational events on gardening, wildlife and nature appreciation.
- Wilton: Wilton Public Library
This project will improve a garden space by developing a sensory area for all ages. The upgrades will provide shade and increase comfortable seating options, ensuring the space is accessible for all users. Master gardeners will help guide planting, with the aim of growing produce.
- Iola: Thrive Allen County
This project will provide raised garden beds, a greenhouse, a solar energy kit and a heater and fan to make a community garden more accessible to community members of all ages throughout more the year.
- Lawrence: Home Works USA
This project will enlarge a community garden next to an affordable housing community. Four raised beds will ensure accessibility for residents with disabilities, as well as for older volunteers. Excess produce will be donated to local food banks.
- Jackson: Kentucky River Area Development District
This project will turn a flooded green space into a community gardens with raised beds, buckets and an accessible bench. Local senior centers will be invited to use the raised beds for educational classes and outings. Produce grown in the garden will be distributed to the community.
- Belle Chasse: Belle Chasse Community Garden
This project will construct a walking track with benches around the perimeter of a community garden.
- Chelsea: Age-Friendly Chelsea
This project will create an intergenerational, accessible community garden at an elementary school, with at least eight raised beds and an accessible bench, as well as signs and decorative artwork created by the students.
- Silver Spring: IMPACT Silver Spring
This project will enhance a community garden in a local park by extending a walkway to accessible raised beds.
- Bridgewater: Bridgewater Senior Center
The project will fund a garden and outdoor activity area designed for older adults. It will include ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible raised gardening beds, grilling stations and outdoor seating.
- Jackson: Grow Jackson
This project will enhance a community garden by implementing educational programming for older adults on topics including nutrition and fresh food, gardening and food saving.
- Duluth: Ecolibrium3(Eco3)
This project will engage older adult volunteers to help create an inclusive intergenerational space for social activities on the site of a former urban college farm.
- Byhalia: FW Coleman Theatre
Funding will be used to purchase raised garden beds and repair the sidewalk around a community orchard and garden.
- Kansas City: MY REGION WINS!
The grant will turn a formerly blighted vacant lot into a community garden and interactive art installation.
- Fremont: Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity
This project will improve a community garden by adding to its enclosure, building raised garden beds and adding walkways and landscaping.
- North Las Vegas: Zion United Methodist Church
This project will revitalize a community garden, which is overdue for needed repairs, by creating wheelchair access and updating water lines.
- Portsmouth: Gather
This project will create a community garden with raised garden beds and vertical gardens to enable older residents of local senior housing communities to grow their own food.
- Newark: Unstoppable Girls Foundation
This intergenerational gardening project will provide girls aged 8 to 18 with an opportunity to pair up with elderly residents to garden together and grow produce in an area that is considered a food desert.
- Fulton: Fulton Block Builders
The grant will enable volunteers to create a community garden by planting flowers, weeding and watering garden plots, and putting up colorful banners around a neglected gazebo.
- Brevard: El Centro
The project will expand a community garden for Hispanic families by adding a 50-foot-by-50-foot patch of tilled rows. Cooking, exercise and gardening classes will augment the physical improvements.
- Forman: City of Forman
This project will move an existing community garden to a more accessible location. It will also expand the garden to offer more raised beds for people who are interested in growing their own food.
- Akron: Shanti Community Farms, Inc.
The project will create a new urban farm for the neighborhood, which is home to African and Bhutanese immigrant families, with individual garden plots and elevated beds for older gardeners.
- Okmulgee: Okmulgee Indian Community
This project will use vacant land adjacent to senior housing to create a community garden with a minimum of 20 raised vegetable beds and four accessible benches.
- Portland: Kindness Farm
This project will turn an overgrown area into a community garden featuring medicinal and edible plants. The accessible space will host educational workshops and give community members a place to gather and socialize. In addition, produce from the garden will be donated to people in need.
- Millersburg: Millersburg Borough
This project will provide benches and raised beds for a newly-created community garden, as well as install raised garden beds near senior apartment buildings.
- San Juan: Techos Pa Mi Gente
This project will install four raised beds and two accessible benches in an existing community garden, which is located in a low-income area with many older residents.
- Providence: West End Community Center
This project will distribute 200 straw bales – an alternative to contaminated urban soil – so that community members can plant and grow their own vegetables.
- Chattanooga: ELLA Library
The project will turn an unused space into a community garden with raised beds to accommodate older gardeners, as well as allow for monthly gardening events there.
- Houston: Lao American Association of Houston
This project will turn vacant land into a community garden with eight raised beds. It will focus on growing vegetables common in Southeast Asian cuisine that are hard to find in supermarkets and grocery stores in Houston.
- Fries: Town of Fries
This project will turn underutilized property beside the town farmers market into a community garden with 10 raised vegetable beds, rain barrels and two ADA-compliant benches, which will be available for all town residents to use.
- Spokane: Spokane County Master Gardener Foundation
This project will add 12 raised beds to an existing community garden, and donate surplus produce to a local senior center and a church.
- Charleston: Heart+Hand Outreach Ministries
The project will create a community garden, with the goal of producing fruit and vegetables that will be part of the food pantry boxes delivered each month to older residents.
- Davis: National Youth Science Academy
This project will turn an unused area into a community garden with 20 raised beds and four accessible benches. Gardeners will have the opportunity to grow food for their families and also contribute produce to the local food bank.
Capacity-Building Microgrants for Walkability
- Birmingham: AARP Chapter 4668 Central Birmingham
The project will increase walkability in Birmingham neighborhoods by using walk audits to evaluate them. The data will be shared with community groups so they can see the challenges that residents aged 50+ face, and highlight the need for safer, more accessible streets, sidewalks, paths and trails.
- Highland: Highlanders Boxing Club
This safe streets project will improve the area's walkability for older residents and identify ways to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries in the area.
- Orosi: Rural Communities Resource Center
This project will recruit volunteers aged 50+ to conduct six walk audits along two busy traffic corridors. The organization will host two community meetings to discuss how to use the data to increase street safety.
- San Diego: Webster Heights Community Development Corporation Inc.
The project will recruit older volunteers to conduct five walk audits in residential areas to identify potential locations for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements.
- Pepeekeo: Onomea Farm Hub
This project will engage volunteers to conduct walk audits along a dangerous highway to identify appropriate crosswalk, walk and bike path improvements.
- Chicago: Good City Group
This project will conduct three walk audits in a busy commercial district and stage a community workshop to identify potential locations for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, with attention given to an intersection where a new Metra commuter rail station is being built.
- Mongo: Mongo Community Development Association
The project will conduct walk audits, identify areas with the greatest need for new sidewalks and work with a contractor to build them.
- Louisville: Shelby Park Neighborhood Association
This project will repair sidewalks, create crosswalks and make other safety improvements for people walking to a nearby community garden.
- Harahan: City of Harahan
The city will conduct four walk audits along a state highway to identify potential locations for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements. This project will recruit volunteers from a local senior center to participate.
- Auburn: City of Auburn
Walk audits will ensure intergenerational community design input for two MaineDOT-funded traffic and pedestrian safety modification projects and one in the planning phase. The sites require traffic calming to make it safer for pedestrians, including older residents.
- Baltimore: Smalltimore Homes
This project will conduct walk audits near a senior center and host a wellness expo to promote health education, as well as improve quality of life for people aged 50+.
- Dunstable: Town of Dunstable
This project will conduct three walk audits in the town center, with a focus on connections with public facilities, conservation trails and the small business community. The town will host community meetings to discuss the findings.
- Lynn: Bike to the Sea
This project will conduct three walk audits to assess challenges that older adults face when accessing a shared-use trail. The organization will work with local stakeholders and city officials to advocate for improvements to increase accessibility and use.
- Taunton: Downtown Taunton Foundation
This project will conduct three walk audits in a business district to identify the best route for a three-mile walking path to encourage recreation, physical fitness and tourism.
- Detroit: Motown Glory Partners Community Development Corporation
This project will conduct two walk audits to assess damaged sidewalks and flooding areas, safety signage, lighting and building structures along a walking route.
- Rochester: Family Service Rochester
The project will conduct 12 walk audits in a neighborhood sidewalk improvement district in support of the city’s Community Development Department Active Transportation Plan.
- Greenwood: Girls Club & Learning Center, Inc.
This project will conduct walk audits and host two community meetings with participants, residents and local business owners to discuss the findings.
- Lincoln: Civic Nebraska
This project will conduct three walk audits along a busy residential street to identify potential locations for traffic calming tools, which would improve walkability for multigenerational families, immigrants, renters and low-income residents.
- Contoocook Village: Town of Hopkinton
This project will conduct three walk audits to identify potential locations for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, while bringing awareness to the social and health benefits of walkability.
- Glen Rock: Borough of Glen Rock
The Borough will conduct three walk audits throughout the downtown area to determine locations for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements.
- Staten Island: Transportation Alternatives
The project will conduct a walk audit series along a major waterfront thoroughfare on Staten Island’s North Shore to evaluate safety infrastructure for pedestrians and propose improvements that will facilitate a long-term transformation of the route.
- Victor: Victor Hiking Trails
This project will conduct four walk audits in an area known for heavy automobile traffic, with a goal of providing safer and more accessible opportunities for walking and biking to the village commercial district.
- Woodstock: Town of Woodstock
This project will conduct five walk audits at critical intersections and sites of high commercial activity to identify safety concerns and solutions. Two community meetings will be staged to discuss the results.
- Pauls Valley: The Bridge
This project will conduct four walk audits to identify and document streets that are unsafe for older pedestrians. This information will be used to make the case for future improvements.
- Anderson: Anderson Housing and Homeless Alliance
This project will conduct three walk audits to identify potential safe walking routes, including needed sidewalk and crosswalk improvements. It will also bring together residents, business owners and local officials to discuss the improvements.
- Austin: Aging is Cool
This project will engage older adult volunteers to conduct two walk audits in high-traffic zones located near grocery stores in Central and South Austin.
- Houston: Citizens' Transportation Coalition
This project will conduct walk audits along Washington Avenue, a busy commercial district surrounded by residential homes. There will be two training sessions and a final in-person community meeting.
- Wheelock: Town of Wheelock
This project will conduct three walk audits along a busy route in Wheelock Village to identify walking hazards and potential crosswalk locations, and then share results at a community meeting that will be open to residents, business owners and local officials.
AARP Community Challenge Resources
AARP Community Challenge Home Page: Visit AARP.org/CommunityChallenge
The Grantees List: Look up the Challenge Winners by State or Year
Articles: Visit the AARP Community Challenge Impact Stories
Questions: Contact us by emailing CommunityChallenge@AARP.org
Learn When to Apply: Subscribe to the AARP Livable Communities Newsletter
Page published June 28, 2023
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