MCF Downeast Innovation Fund Awards Grant to NGBH
Native Gardens of Blue Hill (NGBH) has received an $8,890 grant from the Downeast Innovation Fund of the Maine Community Foundation (MCF) for capacity building as it deepens its mission to offer workforce training in Sustainable Landscaping and Garden Management.
This grant will enable NGBH to invest in and strengthen its organizational structure as it expands its role to serve as an incubator for training, entrepreneurship, innovation, and networking in the fields of sustainable landscaping, land management, and ecological plant propagation.
Over the past 5 years, NGBH co-founders Avy Claire and Cathy Rees have initiated a landscaping plan and native plant gardens on the campus of Bagaduce Music on South Street in Blue Hill. The gardens are being developed and maintained by volunteers from the community—including Master Gardener Volunteers—with training and mentorship from Claire and Rees.
In April 2020, NGBH incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in order to build its operations and establish a workforce training program in partnership with Kennebec Valley Community College. Launching in February 2021, the program will be taught online over the winter and in person at the NGBH gardens in the spring. With funding from the Maine Quality Centers and NGBH support from the Anahata Foundation, the pilot training is available tuition-free to underemployed community members.
The grant from MCF’s Downeast Innovation Fund will support NGBH’s ability to provide ongoing programs that benefit workers, small businesses, and homeowners. “Increased demand for sustainable land care has driven growth in this sector of the local economy, and we are excited to be training a workforce to fill jobs that also promote stewardship of our landscape.” said Claire.