GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Program

GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Program 2016-12-07T15:24:37+00:00

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grant Awards Program promotes and recognizes mayoral leadership in the development of greenscapes across the nation.

Why Gardens and Green Spaces?

To help drive garden and green space development in cities across the U.S., The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) established a partnership with ScottsMiracle-Gro’s GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Program. Through this partnership, the USCM and its membership will collaborate with Scotts Miracle-Gro to bring gardens and green spaces to communities across the United States. Scotts Miracle-Gro launched GRO1000 in 2011. The outreach initiative is designed to create 1,000 gardens and green spaces in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Europe by 2018, the Company’s 150th anniversary.

The United States Conference of Mayors and Scotts Miracle-Gro are committed to the development of gardens and green spaces across the nation. USCM is focused on strengthening and expanding its community garden strategy to maintain a leadership role in stewardship and development of our nation’s green spaces, to recognize outstanding leadership and innovative solutions and to identify model green space initiatives and best practices.

The United States Conference of Mayors was established 80 years ago and is the official nonpartisan organization representing cities with populations of 30,000 or more. The Conference represents the interests of more than 1,200 cities at the national level. The United States Conference of Mayors Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports (TAPES), currently chaired by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, has policy jurisdiction over all issues pertaining to travel and tourism, arts and culture, parks, entertainment industry and sports.

Mayors Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, Steven Benjamin of Columbia, (SC), Frank Jackson of Cleveland, Joe Adame of Corpus Christi, and Edwin Lee of San Francisco, were awarded 2012 GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grants during the USCM’s 80th Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. This was the first year in which cities competed for these grant awards.

In 2013, other Mayors and cities that received GRO1000 grants included Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, Betsy Price of Fort Worth, Cincinnati’s Mark Mallory, Walter Maddox from Tuscaloosa (AL), and Mayor Bill Finch from Bridgeport (CT).  2014’s class of GRO1000 grantees featured Mesa (AZ) Mayor Scott Smith, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Miramar (FL) Mayor Lori Moseley, and Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra of Hartford, and Mayor Lovely A. Warren of Rochester received 2015 GRO1000 Garden and Green Space Grants.

2016 GRO1000 grants were awarded to Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Mayor Francis G. Slay of St. Louis, Mayor Jorge O. Elorza of Providence, and Mayor Bill deBlasio of New York.

Over the last several years, the TAPES Committee has discussed and adopted a number of resolutions pertaining to cities increasing their number of green spaces, including community gardens. The mayors have specifically called for cities to develop, grow and maintain edible gardens in parks, on city hall land and in municipal community gardens.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is dedicated to helping people of all ages express themselves on their own piece of the Earth through industry-leading lawn, garden and outdoor living products and services. Launched in 2011, GRO1000 is Scotts Miracle-Gro’s community outreach initiative focused on bringing the multitude of benefits that gardens and green spaces provide to more cities, schools and communities, particularly to those in need. GRO1000 is committed to supporting the creation of more than 1,000 community gardens and green spaces across the United States, Canada, Latin America and parts of Europe by 2018, which is the company’s 150th anniversary. Scotts Miracle-Gro operates primarily in North America, along with businesses in Europe and Asia Pacific, and employs approximately 6,900 associates.  The Company was founded in 1868 in Marysville, Ohio.


GRO1000 brings the joy of green spaces to communities each year by helping organizations turn their piece of the Earth into everything they imagine. The four focal areas of the GRO1000 program include:

Outdoor Play: creating natural playgrounds for youth
Urban Revitalization: transforming vacant and abandoned properties
Nature Gardens: increasing pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes
Food Deserts: providing access to fresh healthy foods

Eligibility for Participation in the GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Program

Every municipality in the United States is eligible to nominate one new or one substantial addition to an existing public garden, edible garden or green space within their community. All garden and green space projects initiated by the city government are eligible, including those projects developed and implemented in conjunction with community garden groups and other relevant community partners.

GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Application Criteria

Projects should address the following priorities:

  1. Engage area residents;
  2. Contain a strong component of local youth or student groups involved in the project;
  3. Be transformational in scope;
  4. Serve as a focal point/visible project for the city;
  5. Impact the lives of its residents; and
  6. Serve as an essential element of the city’s sustainability plan.


What Award Winning Cities Must Do

When making the decision to participate in the 2017 GRO1000 Program, please consider the following requirements of award winners:

  • All GRO1000 award-winning mayors must attend or send a designee to the awards announcement ceremony during the USCM’s 85th Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, January 17-19, 2017.
  • Each award recipient MUST host a local mayoral dedication event. Local dedication events will be held from March through June 2016. Representatives from The United States Conference of Mayors and Scotts Miracle-Gro will be extensively involved with assisting municipal staff in planning the local dedication event and will be in attendance to re-present the award to the mayor.
  • Key components of the local dedication event must include community involvement, volunteer service, and educational activities for youth.
  • One deserving youth will be recognized with the Scotts Miracle-Gro Give Back to Gro Youth Gardener Award at the local dedication event.
  • The presence and involvement of youth groups during the mayoral dedication event is a vital, required component of the program. Past GRO1000 events have typically included a minimum of 60 youth in the local dedication program.
  • Winning cities will provide two progress reports on the garden or green space on an annual basis. The first report will be due in October 2017, the second in May 2018.

What Award Winning Mayors and Their Cities Receive

  • GRO1000 award-recipient mayors will be recognized at the 85th Winter Meeting of The United States Conference of Mayors (January 17-19, 2017).
  • Effective in 2014, GRO1000 grants were expanded to award a total of $40,000 in monetary funds and product, payable over three years.  In Year 1, each winning city will receive a grant in the amount of $25,000 ($15,000 cash; $10,000 in-kind product from ScottsMiracle-Gro). For Years 2 and 3, winning cities will receive a grant award of $7,500 ($5,000 cash; $2,500 in-kind product from ScottsMiracle-Gro).
  • A local mayoral dedication event will be held at the garden or green space installation site for each of the four GRO1000 award-winning mayors.  Each dedication event will include the installation and unveiling of a permanent sign recognizing the site as part of the GRO1000 program.
  • Each project community will have the opportunity to participate in a GRO1000 Community Garden Academy Workshop. The workshop provides project-specific information on garden best practices and how to help ensure the sustainability of the winning-city’s site.
  • Press releases for winning cities will be released. The cities and their projects will also be the focus of a national media campaign by the USCM and Scotts Miracle-Gro to publicize the cities’ achievements in creating exemplary garden or green space projects.
  • Mayors will be featured in U.S. Mayor, the office news publication of The United States Conference of Mayors, and a description of the winning programs will be highlighted on the USCM website.

Selection Process

An independent panel of advisors, comprised of former mayors and subject matter experts, will help select the winners of the GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Program. The advisors will meet in early December to review the applications. The GRO1000 grants are open to USCM members and non-members. However, membership in good standing will be one of the factors the advisors will consider.