Montford Community Garden wins national grant

Proposed site of Montford Community Garden at Windsor and Montford roads.

The Montford Community Garden is one of ten projects throughout the United States and Canada selected by Fiskars Brands for a 2013 Project Orange Thumb® grant.

The Montford Community Garden Association plans to create a community garden on a vacant lot at the corner of Montford and Windsor roads in Cleveland Heights. The group worked with FutureHeights, a nonprofit dedicated to building community through civic engagement, to apply for the grant in late 2012.

“I am thrilled!” said Patrick Bryne, a resident of Englewood Road and president of the association, “This award should really keep the ball rolling, and should be enough to start the basics. I am excited to see this infusion put to work.”

Fiskars, a company that produces lawn, garden and crafting products, is headquartered in Madison, Wis. Through Project Orange Thumb®, Fiskars awards cash, garden tools and materials to help support community garden goals across North America.

“The 2013 cycle brought us some of the best and most detailed applications yet,” said Ally Spaight, marketing specialist for Fiskars Brands Inc., in an e-mail to grant recipients. “We were particularly impressed with the way [Montford] presented the need for a garden within [its] community, and [its] highly detailed garden plan.”

Grant recipients will receive a $3,500 gift card to spend on goods for their gardens and a $1,500 Fiskars toolkit. 

Like many cities in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Heights has been hit hard by foreclosures and vacant homes. Many of the homes are in serious disrepair and therefore subject to demolition by the Cuyahoga Land Bank or by the city. The house that formerly occupied the proposed garden site at Montford and Windsor was torn down by the land bank early last year. Title to the lot was later transferred to the city.

 “This is great news,” said Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley, “The city will be supportive in whatever ways we can. This project sets the stage for similar projects in other areas of town. Community gardens are a good use of vacant lots, and once we get some up and running people will see them and realize their benefits.”

“The garden will be wonderful for the city and the neighborhood,” said Susanna Niermann O’Neill, acting city manager for the city of Cleveland Heights. “It’s a collaborative effort and a great start for community gardening in the city.”

Montford Community Garden Association has also applied for a $400 start-up grant from the OSU Extension Suburban Community Garden Program, and it hopes to obtain donations from merchants and contributions from civic-minded residents who support the community garden movement. For more information about the project, contact Patrick Byrne at or 330-612-3823.

Other 2013 recipients of the Fiskars grant are Morton Street Community Garden in Noblesville, Indiana; Franklin’s Corner Garden in Bend, Oregon; Paul Revere School Community Garden in Revere, Massachusetts; Emma Park Neighborhood Garden in Butte, Montana; Grow Your Brain State Road School Garden in LaCrosse, Wisconsin; M.A.G.I.C.A.L. Garden in Albemarle, North Carolina; New Roots Community Garden in Syracuse, New York; Garden of Hope in Lakewood, New Jersey; and Milky Way Garden in Toronto, Ontario. To learn more about the 2013 Project Orange Thumb Grant recipients, visit

Deanna Bremer Fisher

Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 9:10 AM, 02.08.2013