Crystal Mathisrud, executive director of the Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), requested the park board’s support on Monday for a grant application to the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).

She made a similar request of the Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday.

Mathirsrud said the SWCD is requesting $27,250 from the NACD, and an additional $8,500 in local matches has already been committed.

According to materials she presented at both meetings, the purpose of the project is to encourage local residents to plant community gardens and apply urban agriculture practices, both to enhance local food security and encourage pollinator plantings.

If the grant is approved, Mathisrud said, the SWCD would provide technical assistance for people wanting to build any of five types of backyard gardens, including raised bed vegetable, mixed vegetable and pollinator and permanent berry gardens, a recessed pollinator rain garden and a dry soils pollinator garden.

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“The bulk of the funds we’re asking for through NACD is to support technical assistance and outreach to help people plant and build these gardens in their own spaces, whether they are community shared spaces or their backyards,” said Mathisrud, adding that they plan to create online education materials.

At a later stage in the project, Mathisrud said, she will also seek input about where to place demonstration gardens of each type.

Parks board chair Sue Cutler moved to approve a letter drafted in support of the SWCD’s grant application, and the motion passed without dissent.

City council member Tom Conway made a similar motion on behalf of the city, which also passed unanimously.