GREEN  The CommUnity Garden, a nonprofit in the City of Green, is the first recipient of the Living Green Community Grant. Located on 880 East Turkeyfoot Lake Road, the garden will receive $1,000 to spend on improvements, including beehives and free programs.

Created in 2015, the garden provides a space for residents to grow fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. For the last year, volunteer teams have worked hard to clear and level the land, raise money for tools and equipment and get to planting. The grant will be used to bring in some new and super small residents.

"We will be purchasing multiple bee houses, reeds and bee larva from our bee provider Mason Bees," said Pattie Wagner, president of the CommUnity Garden.

Wagner is the owner of Release Yoga studio. She believes in being "Happy, Healthy and Whole" and will focus some of the grant money on well-rounded community programs. Located on Release Yoga property, the garden encompasses about 1,000 square feet.

"We will be offering free yoga classes and pollination education sessions for Green elementary schools when the bees hatch in the spring of 2017," she said.

CommUnity Gardens beat out five other worthy applicants for the honor of first recipient.

"It’s never easy to pick just one (applicant), but we felt that the CommUnity Garden’s mission and programs really embodied the priorities of Living Green," Green Mayor Gerard Nuegebauer said. "We look forward to being able to grant money to other organizations in our community doing amazing projects to be more sustainably."

The grant was created using funds from a recycling rebate with Kimble Companies, Green’s trash and recycling aggregator. Every year, the city gets money back from Kimble Companies and the city council approved up to 50 percent of that rebate to go to the community’s nonprofits. In 2015, Green residents put out 1,359.98 tons of recyclables, a 26 percent increase from 2014 in curbside recycling output. This resulted in a rebate of $2,039.97 or about $1.50 per ton of recyclables.

To break it down: the more the citizens of Green recycle, the more money a nonprofit in their community receives.

Applications for the 2017 Living Green Community Grant will be open in late February. The amount of the grant will be determined this month after the 2016 rebate with Kimble Companies is finalized. Projects should promote one or more Living Green values; energy savings, water conservation, waste reduction, local food, and/or community and volunteer engagement.