Goal/Objectives healthy lifestyles, community food insecurity, and

Goal 1: Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County (CCPC) will create and develop six community gardens throughout Pulaski County to increase awareness and action on healthy lifestyles, community food insecurity, and accessibility to healthy foods.
1.1 CCPC will plan, coordinated, and establish six locations to be centralized in low access, low-income areas, and marginalized groups’ areas within six months of receiving the grant.
1.2 CCPC along with Pulaski County Extension Office will offer educational opportunities to increase knowledge and awareness in nutrition, cooking, wellness, and physical activity weekly to the citizens of Pulaski County for the first year of the project.
1.3 CCPC will increase awareness through the introduction of seminars, workshops and literature about food insecurity and the effects this has in Pulaski County two times a month at different local businesses, community partners, churches and local organizations for the first year of the project.
Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County will establish a successful platform and act as a viable foundation for education, awareness, and change for area residents and families. Community participation is imperative to the success of Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County. With the use of the logic model and methodology established the goals and objectives will be implemented: monitoring will occur for success and failures through the evaluation process.
The first phase will look for the short-term outcomes of new knowledge, skills, behaviors, increased availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables, increased sense of community pride, belonging, and giving back, increased awareness of food insecurities and hunger in the local community, educate the garden community on nutrition, cooking, wellness and physical activity education.
The first phase will be monitored from day one. The pre-program survey will occur in February and March; the post-survey in October and November; and site surveys will occur in October and November as well. Observations and conversations will be ongoing throughout the year, except for the months the other surveys are being conducted. The customer satisfaction surveys will be given to participants after every workshop and event.
Once the first cycle of the garden has been completed and research collected, success or failure will be determined. At this point, goals and objectives will be reevaluated and readjusted before moving onto the mid and long-term goals.
By the end of the process, the long-term outcomes will have occurred. The Pulaski County community will have established and maintained the gardens while gaining knowledge and new behaviors thus making a healthier impact on the individual, family, and community. This project produces health and wellbeing for all citizen of Pulaski County. Cultivate a Connection will be offering and providing healthy foods to all of Pulaski County residents, in return building a stronger community through trust, involvement, understanding of food insecurity and response to the need. The long-term outcomes are projected to occur over the next two years. This will allow ample time to determine if the program is a success or failure.
Activities to reach objectives and outcomes: recruit community members from all socioeconomic status to garden, collaborate with community partners to establish garden sites, build, plan and plant gardens, maintain gardens, offer weekly garden class with learning opportunities for nutrition education, awareness activities and physical activities are proposed tools for making Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County a success.
Activities for project success: gather research and information on other community gardens, meet with stakeholders/Extension Office/volunteers and staff, conduct community outreach and education, survey and establish garden sites, plan and design gardens, meet with community partners, order supplies, build and pre-prep gardens, hold events such as planting parties so that garden set up begins and members are involved from the start.
The project’s timeline is influenced greatly by the due date of the Joplin Grant; with the deadline being in May, spring planting season has already begun, therefore the project timeline is delayed for this year’s outdoor spring planting, yet will be ready to start planting once the greenhouses are in place.
Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County understands the importance of project effectiveness and will evaluate the outcomes of the program’s goals and objectives by monitoring the increased consumption of fresh foods, evidence of participants changing diet and incorporating fresh foods, as well as community participation in events. The evaluation will also take a look at the number of educational workshops designed and implemented by the educational staff at the Pulaski County Extension Office. Lastly, the evaluation will measure whether participants had an increase in time spent outside, perceived better health, healthier eating habits, use of community resources, and a stronger sense of community bond.
A series of evaluation methods and technique data gathering practices of the project’s progress will be collected and analyzed. The research will utilize both quantitative and qualitative data. Qualitative data gives meaning to the finding results (Gelo, Braakmann, ; Benetka, 2008). The activities and methods that will be used to accomplish this are: Community Food Security Coalition’s Community Gardener Survey for adults and children given pre and post garden cycles, sign-in sheets, Community Food Security Coalition’s Program Satisfaction and Quality Survey given after educational classes and events, interviews, conversations, observations, account and weigh for food raised and distributed among community members, co-coordinator survey and interview, observations, interviews/surveys, and conversations and with site personnel, and literature reviews. This method gives insight into meeting the goals and objectives.
Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County will know that goals have been met when the performance indicators occur: an increase of 10% participation in the community gardens, 15% increase in consumption in fresh vegetables and fruits, and 10% increased knowledge of nutrition due to classes and workshops within the first year. These are measurable outcomes that can be identified, validated, and reliable based on the pre and post surveys, interviews, and observations that will be utilized in the program.
Budget Narrative
The proposed Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County budget for initial startup funding represents a request for $25,000. This estimate is based on research of gathered information from various websites, which offers an estimated cost for equipment and supplies that will be required to establish the community gardens to an operational state. The websites accessed were Lowes.com, Rainbird.com, and Houzz.com.
The majority of the request is allotted for equipment. Equipment, such as greenhouses, composters, fencing, irrigation systems, tillers, and wheelbarrows, are considered major purchases. These items will not have to be replaced yearly and are a necessity to the success of Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County community gardens project.
The advertisement portion is imperative for positive results in publicizing the community gardens, as is spreading the word is vital to Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County’s cause; this is needed to stay connected to funding sources, volunteers, community collaborators, and citizens. The monies will be spent on flyers, brochures, poster, and event notices.
There are no overhead costs or staffing salaries, as the Pulaski County Extension Office is the host agency; therefore, these positions and costs will be incurred by the host agency. This is the initial budget with which the grant committee can base decisions on when determining grant allotment award for Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County.
The goal of the sustainability plan is to maintain the gains and to guarantee sustainable fresh fruits and vegetables for the community population. Currently Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County has the backing of the Pulaski County Extension Office, which is an affiliate of the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University Agriculture programs. Therefore, the universities can be relied upon for continuous support for this endeavor. If the Joplin Grant falls through, a pursuit of the local community power bases and other grants will be necessary to accomplish the setup of the gardens. These additional resources will be valuable to the effort either way.
With the ending of the Joplin Grant, plans are to utilize small grants that promote sustainability: the USDA Community Food Project, The American Community Garden Association “Seed Money” Grant, Project Orange Thumb and Awesome Foundation Grant. All of these grants offer funding to be utilized to sustain community gardens.
In addition to the above grants, Cultivate a Connection Pulaski County will use the internal Seed Lending Program, which offers free seeds for gardening, sponsored by the Pulaski County Extension Office. The project will also rely on community support, donors at local and state level, private and public community partnerships, volunteer base, and stakeholders’ engagement to continue the fight against food insecurities in Pulaski County.

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