The Wyoming Business Council has refreshed its Farm Wall grants as part of the Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper placemaking program.
Farms Walls are an innovative method of growing plants on the exterior walls of existing buildings.
“The walls – used as streetscape amenities, tactical urbanism or public art – are community engagement assets at any level. They start conversations, solve problems and encourage collaborations,” Trey Sherwood, the director of Laramie Main Street Alliance, said in a National Main Street article. “The Farm Walls allow us to dream beyond what currently exists on our streets and help us to see our communities for what they can be at their fullest potential.”
The application and reporting processes for communities to acquire their own Farm Walls have been simplified from the last grant cycle, said Kim Porter, rural development manager for the Wyoming Business Council. Plus, the grant now includes the installation, maintenance and harvesting of the Farm Wall itself, and they are now available to more communities.
“We’ve tweaked the Farm Wall grant opportunity in response to feedback that the applications and reports were too cumbersome and because communities were concerned about the maintenance requirements of the Farm Walls,” Porter said.
The application and reporting requirements have been simplified, Porter said. Fewer documents are required and the forms are easy-to-use fillable PDFs.
Plus, the Business Council is working with a contractor to handle installation, maintenance and harvesting of the Farm Walls as part of the grant, if communities want that support, Porter said.
In addition, any community can now apply for a Farm Wall grant, even if they have not completed Placemaking training, which was a requirement in the previous grant cycle.
“We’re making it very simple for communities to enjoy all the benefits of this innovative and important system of growing plants vertically,” Porter said. “With a Farm Wall, communities can harvest their own fresh produce, which can be used at restaurants or donated to people in need. The plants grow in a very small footprint, such as on the side of a building, which decreases the need for large growing fields and long-distance transportation. And, they improve the look and environment of a community by replacing plain exterior walls with beautiful, fresh greenery.”
Farm Wall grant applications are due Feb. 29. Visit the Placemaking website for more details and to fill out the application.
Keep an eye out for the second round of Placemaking grants, with applications due April 1. These are $2,500 grants that can be used for any Placemaking project.
And new this year, watch for a Home for the Holidays grant due Sept. 1. These grants will provide supplies and funding for communities to use to decorate their downtowns for the holiday season.