The Hope Grows Community Garden, at 914 E. 13th Ave.

A new Community Garden Grant fund will award new and existing projects up to $4,000 for supplies and services, city and county officials announced on Monday.

“Community gardens benefit our health, our community and our environment, and they give neighbors a reason and a place to come together,” said Mayor Michael Coleman, who in July announced his desire to see 500 gardens in Columbus by 2012.

During the past several years, gardens have sprouted across Central Ohio, as residents look to reduce food costs, improve nutrition, beautify empty lots and build relationships. More than 200 are in operation in Columbus.

Grants will be available to projects in Columbus and select areas of Franklin County. The application deadline is April 1, and recipients will be announced at the Earth Day celebration April 23 at Franklin Park Conservatory.

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