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May 12, 2013 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Local project a finalist in Taking Root™, a gardening grant program

from Troy-Bilt®and Keep America Beautiful

Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. is proud to be one of six finalists in Taking Root™, a new gardening grant program from Troy-Bilt®, a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, and Keep America Beautiful (KAB), the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build vibrant communities. The grant will award six KAB community groups a total of $25,000 in grants and $7,000 in Troy-Bilt products, with the public deciding who receives the most on Troy-Bilt’s Facebook Page.  Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful is in competition with Carbondale, IL,; Hammond, LA; Indianapolis, IN; Shreveport, LA; and Rome, NY.

Earlier this year, Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful submitted its application for the Taking Root grant for The Riviera Beach Community Garden. Among the many applications received, six finalists were selected and announced. Each finalist created a video expressing their need for the grant and the public is being asked to vote for their favorite on Troy-Bilt’s Facebook Page. The organization with the highest number of votes on May 12, 2013, will receive $10,000 in cash, plus $2,000 in Troy-Bilt lawn care products. Each of the five runners-up will receive $3,000 in cash plus $1,000 in Troy-Bilt products. “

“We are thrilled to be chosen as one of the finalists for the Taking Root grant, as we believe our project will make a meaningful impact on this community,” said , Lourdes Ferris,  Executive Director of Keep  Palm Beach County Beautiful. “But we need every vote we can get!  All you have to do is visit Troy-Bilt’s Facebook Page, and vote for us. Rome, NY is currently ahead in votes, so we need everyone in Palm Beach County to cast a vote every day until the contest ends on May 12. With your help we can win the top grant award for this worthy project.”

Votes must be cast on personal Facebook Accounts via laptop or desktop computers.

About the Riviera Beach Heights Community Garden:This Community Garden area qualifies as low income, high crime, high poverty, and low access to healthful food. The garden will beautify this challenged area, improve the environment by growing plants and flowers, produce healthy and affordable food for the community, and reduce crime by eliminating a haven for illicit activity.  The Garden will be located on land donated to the The Riviera Beach Community Development Corporation, (RBCRA) for $1 per year covering approximately ½ acre; feature a visually pleasing design, and tie into the greater neighborhood park system (future improvement) and other neighborhood revitalization efforts and is part of a broader revitalization plan for the Riviera Beach Heights neighborhood.

This project will be a focal point for neighborhood restoration.  The community garden beautifies an area, is a teaching garden and will provide edible products to those in need by donating the food grown promoting healthy living.  We expect to replicate this model in other neighborhoods.  The garden will serve to educate about healthy diets and lifestyles, will highlight nutritious foods, and will encourage the consumption of more fresh fruits and vegetables.  The RBCDC has convened several focus groups and has recruited a community garden advisory group made up of two Master Gardeners, a contractor, a daycare operator from the area, a landscaper, and several area residents who are working on the Crime Watch initiative.  The garden will be anchored by a pocket park plus other street and sidewalk repairs by the RBCRA.

     The garden will use a drip irrigation system fed by a cistern and include a shading system to reduce water usage and rapid evaporation. Organic and natural fertilizers will be used. Raised beds and a storage shed will be built with as much salvaged lumber as possible. Energy efficient solar water heaters and pumps will be utilized; and solar lighting will incorporate LED fixtures to reduce energy.  The garden will be managed by a Master Gardener and utilize several part-time paid youth helpers. Community residents will also volunteer time to prepare the soil, plant crops and rotate harvests and distribution to name some tasks. 

     In addition to its other goals, the community garden will help to leverage the public and private investment portion of the surrounding neighborhood redevelopment project underway.  It is an innovative solution for this low income community struggling with slum and blight and lack of access to healthy, affordable foods.  The RBCDC will raise funds, coordinate volunteers and recruit residents to participate on a regular basis.  Lots leased to families will provide fees, which will help with upkeep of the garden. All of these things will insure longevity and sustainability.
     The Community Garden Project will further the development of green spaces, reduce the number of vacant lots that destabilizes the neighborhood and attracts a criminal element, and enhances the economic development potential for several low-income residents in the neighborhood by providing a means to increase family incomes. It beautifies pockets of slum and blight, encouraging adjacent property owners to do the same, hence further stabilizing the neighborhood and raising property values. It will address issues of food access and food security, eliminate this neighborhood as a “food desert” and address the community health impacts of community safety wrought by vacant and derelict lots, improving the physical environment of the neighborhood.

About  Keep Palm Beach County Inc.

Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc., established in 1988, is a 501(c)(3) volunteer-based non-profit organization which serves as the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life in Palm Beach County through programs and partnerships that encourage public agencies, private entities, residents and visitors to reduce litter and waste, increase recycling, beautify and maintain public spaces, and inspire generations of environmental stewards.

About Riviera Beach Community Development Corporation

The Riviera Beach Community Development Corporation delivers neighborhood services in the Heights area of the City of Riviera Beach.  The Riviera Beach Community Garden is the anchor project in this neighborhood revitalization plan to empower residents, create beautiful transitions into the neighborhood, create dramatic neighborhood design with residential and commercial façade improvements, and support a vibrant business district.  Volunteers are busy painting houses, picking up trash, and creating green spaces.  For more information, visit    

About Troy-Bilt

In 1937, Troy-Bilt® introduced the first American-made rototiller and since then has expanded its legendary expertise and durable product line to create a complete selection of the industry’s finest lawn and garden tools. The company’s award-winning product line includes top-quality tractors, mowers, tillers, cultivators, trimmers, snow throwers and a variety of outdoor power tools. Troy-Bilt machines are built to last and engineered to take on the toughest challenges to make jobs simpler and safer. For more information, visit troybilt.comor Troy-Bilt’s Facebook Page.

About Keep America Beautiful

Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With a strong national network of 1,200 affiliate and partners including state recycling organizations, the national nonprofit works with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities. Keep America Beautiful offers solutions that create clean, beautiful public places, reduce waste and increase recycling, inspire generations of environmental stewards and generate positive impact on local economies. Through our programs and public-private partnerships, we engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment. For more information, visit



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