Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has awarded First Place AZ with a $10,000 grant for its Healthy Harvest Growers Program.

The Healthy Harvest Growers Program will use the funding to build raised, boxed community garden beds in the courtyard of First Place-Phoenix, a $15.3 million, 81,000-square-foot property now under construction and opening to residents this summer at 3001 N. Third Street in Phoenix. First Place AZ is a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit working hard to ensure that housing options for people with autism and neuro-diversities are as bountiful as they are for everyone else.

The funding also will enable First Place to purchase soil, seeds, starter plants, fertilizer and garden tools.

Residents will help build the gardens, as well as cultivate herbs, vegetables and other plants for use in First Place’s culinary teaching kitchens and for preparing their own meals in the property’s 55 private apartments.

“Gardening will provide residents with many benefits such as physical activity, stress relief and a sense of accomplishment while developing social skills,” said Denise D. Resnik, First Place founder, president and CEO. “First Place AZ is grateful to the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation for their grant which will help residents maintain healthy lifestyles while building self-confidence, self-esteem and friendships.”

This is the second grant Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has awarded First Place. The 2016 grant provided seed funding for the Sprouts Kitchen Network’s “First to the Table” video series of cooking courses for adults with autism and other neuro-diversities to help them learn independent living skills. The videos will be viewed in the First Place culinary teaching kitchens and in individual apartments.

Participants will experience step-by-step sensory learning experiences from gardening all the way to food preparation through easy-to-follow demonstrations and recipes, and tips and techniques for safe cooking.

“We’re delighted to recognize the innovative work of First Place and value how our contributions will impact its residents and model programming for others,” said Lyndsey Waugh, executive director at Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation.

For more information about leasing activity now underway or to become involved, email info@firstplaceaz.org or visit firstplaceaz.org.