Teaching Garden Application for Award

American Heart Association - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Teaching Garden
Application for Award 

Deadline to Apply: April 1, 2019 (applicants must be located in the SE Wisconsin region) 

Grant amount: Up to $5,000

Did you know?  

According to the Milwaukee Health Report 2013, Milwaukeeans living in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods report the following: 64% have no access to healthy foods, 70% report inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, 29% are overweight and 43% of adults are obese.

The American Heart Association understands that every neighborhood should have access to a place where people can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Many Milwaukee residents live in areas considered a food desert, where it is difficult to buy fresh food. An important goal of the Wisconsin Healthy Food Access Initiative is to bring healthy food options into these food deserts in order to improve the health of residents of Milwaukee.  

In a recent survey conducted by the Milwaukee Health Department, 39.9% of Milwaukeeans selected "access to affordable and healthy food" as the biggest barrier impacting their health. When healthy food is readily available, children and adults develop better eating habits and better overall health, including a decreased risk of obesity. Healthy food financing programs help create jobs for people living in the neighborhood, create markets for farmers and have the potential to lower health care costs. Over half of Milwaukeeans living in food deserts are overweight or obese.  

The American Heart Association is committed to facilitating a dramatic change in the way Americans eat and think about food. To accomplish this change, the American Heart Association has created Teaching Gardens to educate community members of the importance of fruits and vegetables, to energize and excite them about produce, and to introduce fresh produce into the diets of students and their families.  Participating in the Teaching Gardens program gives access to a variety of resources and support to help achieve these goals.

How Do Teaching Gardens Work?

American Heart Association Teaching Gardens teaches community members how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Throughout the program, community members can celebrate gardening milestones: planting day, harvesting and activities that involve the larger community. Of course, there are also plenty of healthy snacking opportunities for all involved. 

Teaching Gardens are functional additions to communities; especially food deserts. Every Teaching Garden can be as unique as the community it serves. Each American Heart Association Teaching Gaden, no matter the shape or location, has the potential to become an integrated part of the community and serve as a tool to explore the world and its possibilities. Teaching Gardens provide wonderful opportunities for team building, leadership development and the joy of seeing one’s community transform into something better for all.

Teaching Gardens Qualifications

The American Heart Association requires that any community organization that is submitting an application for a Teaching Garden be able to meet the following criteria.  The AHA has piloted Teaching Gardens nationwide and found that those that are able to meet these criteria are most successful with establishing, maintaining and sustaining a successful Teaching Garden program.  Please review the following:

Administrative, Staffing and Volunteer Support

  • There must be support and commitment to maintaining the garden for at least 2 years
  • Designate a team lead and a work-group for the Teaching Garden program
  • Integrate the experienced into your organization
  • The Teaching Garden Committee should explore opportunities to partner with local businesses and organizations to establish volunteer opportunities and support of the Teaching Garden through donations of goods/services.

Implementation and Space Requirements

  • Build or maintain a Teaching Garden with the help of parent volunteers and community organizations 
  • Allocate appropriate space (between 250 and 700 square feet)
  • The Teaching Garden should be in a location with an external water source less than 100ft from a proposed garden site
  • The community organization should identify and secure ongoing support from volunteers and/or parents to agree to maintain the Teaching Garden
  • The organization must commit to at least one Plant Day and one Harvest Day per year


  • The organization agrees to participate in evaluation activities and share program progress reports with the American Heart Association, as requested
  • The organization agrees to share with the American Heart Association photos, video clips, and success stories
  • The organization agrees to review and execute necessary documentation


How to apply?

Please complete the Application for Teaching Garden Program Grant section of the document and be sure to provide all information requested. Incomplete applications will not be processed. If you have specific questions, please contact me for assistance:

Oby Nwabuzor
Director, Community Impact
Health Equity & Multicultural Health
(262) 509 - 0209