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Keep Cincinnati Beautiful's Price Hill Vacant Lots Occupied Project put unused vacant property to good use by planting trees, along with other food-bearing plants, to give these properties new life, while providing access to healthy, natural food to residents of Price Hill. Cincinnati's Price Hill is made up of three neighborhoods: Lower, East and West Price Hill, with some 40,000 people all being served by one grocery store. Many residents struggle to access healthy foods in the area, because of topography and ability. The intention of this project is twofold -- manage the vacant land with something other than mowing, and grow food and other useful materials as close to residents as possible to increase access and improve the health and well-being of those who live, work and play in Price Hill! This is a long-term project that will take several years to complete, but thanks to The UPS Foundation and Keep America Beautiful, we have made significant progress toward making food more accessible in low-income areas of Price Hill, and improving the appearance of its blighted vacant lots. Thus far, two large vacant lots have been cleaned up, and re-planted with trees (primarily fruit-bearing), and other plantings; two more lots are being prepared for planting in the fall of 2017. The most wonderful part of this project has been the engagement from the community and partner organizations. Several neighbors have become interested in happenings on the vacant lots adjacent to their homes and got involved, either by helping to water plants, keeping an eye on things, or planting a fruit tree in their own front yard for public use. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful was able to give away 22 fruit trees to individuals who are planting them in their front yards to create accessibility and community conversations around growing and preserving their own food. KCB also developed strong partnerships with organizations like Turner Farms -- a working farm located in Indian Hill, Ohio, committed to growing food organically and sustainably. Turner Farms has committed to working on building a community garden adjacent to the community library and recreation center, and educating residents on how to grow their own food.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, Cincinnati, OH

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Keep Charleston Beautiful was a recent recipient of a Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant. As part of the proposed grant project, Keep Charleston Beautiful partnered with a local organization, The Compost Rangers, in an effort to build a healthier community by connecting schools, restaurants, and local businesses to a grassroots compost initiative in the City of Charleston.This was done by collecting organic waste from local establishments and transporting the material via bicycle to school gardens. By partnering with the schools, The Compost Rangers now have the ability to educate students about their waste, the environment, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Grant funds were used to construct composting cubes at three elementary school locations, as well as raised garden beds which will later house the finished compost and give the students a space for planting edibles and pollinator species. Improving recycling -- and waste reduction through organics collections -- is one of Keep Charleston Beautiful’s missions. Food recycling can be easily overlooked, but is an integral part of making that mission a success. And there's little doubt that Charleston, South Caroline, is a food town, with an equally prevalent food problem. Charleston and its community are plagued by two food issues: 1) lack of accessibility to fresh affordable produce in low socio-economic status neighborhoods, and 2) lack of education about food waste and food recycling among our community members. Delicious and organically grown vegetables are plentiful in the fine dining restaurants that abound throughout Charleston, while the city’s lower income neighborhoods lack easily accessible, healthy, and affordable produce. The second problem addresses food waste and the lack of education surrounding its ability to be recycled and reused. The average American wastes about 20 lbs. of food each year. It is estimated that 40 percent of the food in the United States goes uneaten, and only 3 percent of that discarded food is composted. The Compost Rangers, a nonprofit with a mission to augment the composting in Charleston, make it its mission to address these community needs by operating as the connective tissue among local businesses, gardens, and schools, with food waste as their medium. The food waste is hauled via bicycle to community gardens, where it’s recycled into compost, and then used to grow produce (i.e. rubbish is now the resource). Keep Charleston Beautiful and our community partners are so thankful to have received the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant, without which this project would not be possible. We would like to especially thank Lowe’s for their generosity, as well as the involvement of their Lowe’s Heroes volunteers on community projects across the nation.

Keep Charleston Beautiful; Charleston, SC

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Keep Jackson Beautiful (KJB) has partnered with Lowe’s for its Jackson Community Garden Initiative. The garden initiative has 15 gardens spread all over the City of Jackson. Lowe’s hard-working, dedicated Lowe's Heroes employee volunteers have been very instrumental in the success of our initiative. Under the leadership of Cynthia McNair, Keep Jackson Beautiful for the first time has received donated sheds from Lowe's to house all garden supplies and equipment. The Lowe’s Community Partners Grant allowed KJB to plant at total of nine gardens with a yield of approximately 8,145 pounds of vegetables available to the citizens of Jackson. At the Rosemont M.B. Church permaculture community orchard, Lowe’s assisted with completing the second phase of the project. Tasks they helped with were handling plants, planting fruit trees, moving wheelbarrows filled with wood chips, and cleaning up. The orchard looks wonderful, even after the long drought in Jackson. Keep Jackson Beautiful is grateful to have the assistance of the Lowe's Heroes and look forward to working with them on future grant projects in our capital city. Keep Jackson Beautiful is excited to see the gaining momentum of our Garden Initiative! We are happy to be at the forefront of keeping Jackson beautiful. Thank you, Lowe’s, and Keep America Beautiful for the opportunity to receive the Lowe’s Community Partner Grant. Lastly, we would like to thank all our volunteers, sponsors and especially thanks to our local Lowe’s Heroes for all that you have contributed to our Beautiful City!

Keep Jackson Beautiful, Inc., Jackson, MS

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Thanks to the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe's Community Partners Grant, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful partnered with local law enforcement agencies and community volunteers to clean up a highly visible, public area that became a make-shift homeless camp over the past months. The land was heavily littered with trash, hazardous materials, unusable bulky material, and food waste. The project focused on three objectives: 1. Gathering and removal of trash from the area to improve the aesthetics of the area. 2. Restoration of the property to its natural state. 3. Contribution to the protection of the homeless population by removing hazardous materials and eliminating unsafe conditions. A local TWC News report documenting the cleanup can be found here.

Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful, Charlotte, NC

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Lowe's Heroes and other Keep Indian River Beautiful volunteers worked tirelessly to improve the Captain Forster's Hammock Preserve in Vero Beach, Florida, by adding an all native pollinator garden in the front entrance, educational signage, benches and even handcrafted bee and bat houses. More volunteers went to the end of the property where the Preserve meets the Atlantic Ocean to remove exotics and restore the dune destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. Everything was accomplished in one day on Dec. 3, 2016, by over 50 hard-working volunteers including our County Commissioner Joe Flescher! Thank you to Lowe's, Keep America Beautiful, Indian River County and Native Butterfly Plants, LLC for making this historical project possible!

Keep Indian River Beautiful, Vero Beach, FL

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Keep Genesee County Beautiful, with a grant made possible by Keep America Beautiful and the Lowe's Community Partners Grant program, was able to replace old, unsafe playground equipment with a beautiful, colorful, inviting playscape at Sarginson Park in Flint, Michigan! The entire community came out to help on Oct. 14-15, including our local Lowe's Heroes, Americorp, Flint Genesee Job Corps, South Baptist Church, the City of Flint, Burnash Wrecking, Rent-A-Son, Gametime, the Neighborhood Engagement Hub and West Flint Community Watch. It was a great two-day event and the area children love their new playground!

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, MI

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