Grant Application Open: January 15, 2024 - February 29, 2024

Funded by a generous legacy gift of Willow-based gardeners, Gerald and Kathryn Freeley, the Gardening as Food Security Grant Program seeks applications from eligible organizations for projects that address food security issues by promoting and facilitating gardening projects in Alaska. With a budget of $100,000, ACF will award 10 $10,000 grants to projects within the guidelines outlined below. With this award, these grantees will be eligible for a follow up grant in 2025 for $10,000 (upon completion of a final report, still meets the requirements below, and with a request for additional funding). In honor of the Freeleys’ special connection to the Mat-Su region, there will be priority put on Mat-Su based projects.

Food Security is a broad term with growing definitions. This grant seeks to support projects that strengthen a broad definition of food security that means access by all people at all times to safe, nutritious, and local food for healthy lifestyles.

Priority will be given to organizations that:

  • Are located within the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Funding is available for projects outside the Matanuska Valley.
  • Provide participants with hands-on practical education regarding location-specific gardening best practices, crop selection, garden planning, and outcomes that empower participants to boost community food security by way of gardening.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to addressing food security concerns via growing and distributing nutritious produce within the community in which the organization is located.
  • Intend to use grant funds for school gardens, community gardens, tower gardens, edible gardens, and other hands-on projects that build gardens.
  • Leverage funds from other sources (local, state, federal, other grants, funds from the organization itself, and in-kind donations).

Selection Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by an advisory committee according to the following criteria:

  • Aligned Purpose: To what extent is the purpose of the project aligned with the goal of engaging community members in a reliable source of food for participants and communities?
  • Targeted Impact: To what extent does the project plan include clear, concrete measures of success?
    • Strong applications should demonstrate how funding will directly impact gardening and food security in the community served by the project.
    • Projects involving training should demonstrate metrics on how many participants have/will be trained upon completion of the project and their perceived reach in the community (number of community members involved, impacted, taught, etc.).
  • Hands-on Approach: To what extent is the project hands-on?
  • Collaboration: To what extent does the project engage partner organizations to achieve its vision? And to what extent does the project leverage funds from other sources?
  • Sustainability: To what extent does the project plan indicate a commitment to the long-term?
    • Strong applications should demonstrate how funding will directly impact gardening and food security in the community served by the project.


Grant-funded projects must be completed within 9 months from the date of grant disbursement (funds are anticipated to be granted and paid out March 2024, with final reports due December 30, 2024). Extensions may be requested.

Organization Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicants include: 501(c)(3) nonprofit or equivalent organizations located in the state of Alaska. Equivalent organizations may include tribes, schools, churches, local government agencies and programs. Ineligible applicants include: Individuals*, for profit, 501(c)(4) or (c)(6) organizations, non-Alaska based organizations; and state or federal government agencies.

*Individuals seeking funding: consider fiscal sponsorship with a local 501c3 designated nonprofit. While ACF cannot grant directly to individuals per policy, ACF can work with an eligible fiscal sponsor to fund your work. To learn more about how this nonprofit collaboration can work for you, give the ACF Programs & Grants team a call, 907-334-6700 or email us at


Please review the Grant Application Guidelines and Helpful hints below for more information.


Click this link or copy and paste the link below to access ACF’s online grants management system:

Click this link or copy and paste the link below to access ACF’s online application instructions:

Grant Guidelines

Helpful hints for applying online

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Please note: These forms are for your draft work ONLY; any submissions must be completed within our online grants management portal.

For grantee convenience, below are PDF versions of the grant application and final report form for this grant opportunity. Click the links below to download the PDF version of the document if you’d like to prep.  The documents are provided here for your PREPARATION convenience. You cannot use these forms for your submission – that must be done online within our portal.

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