Refreshing Communities Through Outdoor Gardens


Story Updated: Dec 22, 2011

Refreshing Communities Through Outdoor Gardens (405)

(NewsUSA) - Whether you live in an urban or rural area, enjoying the outdoors is something many Americans have in common, and we experience it in different ways -- both big and small -- from growing herbs on the back porch to perusing the community farmer's market in town.

But why not take it a step further and take action to make your community a little greener? Creating an outdoor oasis helps preserve green space, beautifies neighborhoods, and can also bring together the community through a shared cause.

One way to do this is through The Pepsi Refresh Project, which through the input of people across the country, awards grants to projects, for both individuals and organizations, that do good for the community. This month Pepsi is challenging America, asking "How can you upgrade your hometown with a new community garden?" Go to and give Pepsi your best answer, or click through the hundreds of other entries to vote on your favorite ideas to help ensure worthy organizations receive the funding they deserve. Since last year, Americans have chosen to award more than 20 million dollars to community-supportive ideas that receive the greatest number of votes through this landmark fundraising effort.

Take Central Elementary Gardens for example, started by teacher Christy Cuthbert, who used the $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant to create an outdoor learning center and garden for her school. Students not only get their hands dirty in the garden, but also learn skills to promote and manage a community farmers market. There's also the Brigit's Bounty started by a Colorado resident, Brandi-Lynn Greig. She used her $25,000 grant to provide fencing, seeds, trees, and educational programming for a community garden, which provides fresh vegetables to over 200 families in need each month.

Other ways to get involved are to join an already established community garden or farm in your area. From planting to managing sales, there are several ways you can contribute.

Every action helps to create major impact on communities, whether you choose to vote for your favorite idea or put your own idea into action. Even as the summer days start to shorten and we head back to school, Pepsi will continue to challenge Americans with the next question, asking, "How would you make learning fun?" No matter the season, ideas can always inspire change in communities and the Pepsi Refresh Project encourages just that.

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