Friday, March 5, 2010

$50K in Funding for local Gardens is a Click Away

By Amelia Baker

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 -

It’s frustrating when you’re in a position motivated to do more, but just can’t come up with the funding.

That’s usually my scenario. I love what I do and use the store (Green Alternatives) as a catalyst to inspire others and create positive change. Despite what my income statement tells me, I’m not a non-profit. Because of that, I’m a highly undesirable candidate for grants… until now!

If you haven’t already heard, Pepsi opted not to buy a ridiculously expensive Super Bowl ad, and instead is giving away more than $1 million per month through 2010 to community members around the country who have good ideas for refreshing their local landscape.

Here’s their promo videos on it:

Over the moon, I immediately logged onto Pepsi’s site to submit a proposal. For weeks leading up to this moment, Rachel Shaw and I had been planning out a community garden program that not only would give neighborhood residents a place to grow, but would also bear a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program after the first year. Our (if I say so myself) fantastic ideas and hard work were destined for a hard road ahead if we didn’t have funding, so Pepsi’s initiative couldn’t have been better timing.

The idea was submitted for a $50,000 grant to be used for ten community gardens throughout Hampton Roads. The gardens will provide local, organic food; get community members out and talking to each other; and beautify empty, sad lots. The money would be used for materials to get the gardens ready for planting, and would also leave some savings for the garden to sustain themselves year after year.

After clicking submit, I sat for a moment and thought, “What if we actually get the money and really get to do this?”

It was weeks before I got the news that Pepsi had approved the idea for March voting. When the congratulatory email came through this past Monday, I literally jumped off of the couch and ran into the kitchen with a gleeful squeal to share the news with my husband. Also calling my partner in crime, Rachel. We were both thrilled, humbled, and honored to have made the batch of March ideas.

My short-lived celebration turned immediately into a dash for votes and we needed them BAD. The first day of voting we were ranked 189th. With only the top 10 ideas in the $50,000 category receive funding, we had a waaaays to go. Rachel and I started shamelessly promoting our idea through any means we could and in two short days we are now sitting somewhere around 77th place. A huge accomplishment, but let’s face it… we have some major road to clear to break the top ten.

You can check out our idea by clicking here. The believers in our idea can vote once a day per email account per idea. We need your help! Please take a minute every day to vote for our idea. If you think you’ll need a daily reminder and update on our progress, be my friend.

Vote every day through March 31. Please and thank you!

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