A Thunder Bay group that strengthens community ties and encourages local food consumption has been awarded money to develop a new community garden in the city.

Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb announced Thursday that Roots to Harvest of Thunder Bay is one of 30 groups that will be receiving $3,500 in cash and tools to support their local community garden.

Fiskars spokesperson Sara Tetzloff said that Roots to Harvest was chosen by Fiskars in collaboration with an esteemed editorial board of influential garden bloggers who recognized the organization’s dedication to strengthening community ties and bringing healthy food to the community.

“Of the over 400 applications submitted, their dedication to providing disadvantaged youth with education and career opportunities through community gardening really stood out,” she said.

With the help of their Fiskars Project Orange Thumb Grant, Roots to Harvest will develop a second garden site in Thunder Bay along with an employment readiness and life skills training program on-site for older youth, ages 19 - 25, who experience barriers to employment.

Since 2007, Roots to Harvest has been providing transformative education and employment opportunities to disadvantaged youth in the Thunder Bay area.

Their programs include an annual six-week Urban Youth Farming program, an Academic Year program, classroom-based programs and outreach activities to help students remain involved and informed of food security initiatives.

Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb has provided over $1.6 million to more than 180 community groups in the 14 years since the program began.

With the goal of strengthening community ties, growing healthy food and beautifying community gardens across North America, Fiskars says it is proud to offer grants and tools to support local, hand-grown food sources.

“Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb highlights the importance of community collaboration to help make a positive impact on the lives of many people,” said company president Paul Tonnesen. “We’re excited to celebrate this group of driven organizations that look to better their neighborhoods and create healthier communities for future generations.”

Fiskars Corp. is a leading global supplier of consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors. For further information on the Project Orange Thumb program and other 2016 grant recipients, visit the website fiskars.com/ProjectOrangeThumb.

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