Toledo GROWs is the community gardening outreach program of Toledo Botanical Garden. GROWs is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to the continued growth and success of community-based gardens in the City of Toledo and throughout Northwest Ohio.
As a statewide and regional leader in community gardening, Toledo GROWs offers organizational resources and technical assistance to support the development of sustainable garden projects that serve people of diverse ages and abilities. In 2012, GROWs served over 165 community gardens. Throughout the seasons, Toledo GROWs works with community garden organizers to ensure that they have everything necessary to create a vibrant community garden.
Toledo GROWs is cultivating a dynamic community gardening movement across northwest Ohio. Working in partnership with a wide variety of community groups, the program draws on the collective heritage of gifts from Toledo’s distinct cultures. Community gardens benefit everyone by creating safe and healthy recreational activity within our neighborhoods.
To support these efforts that build healthier communities, please consider joining in our work as a contributor, partner, or volunteer. For more information, please call 419.720.8714.
Community gardens enhance the quality of life in many ways by:
- beautifying neighborhoods
- connecting urban dwellers back to the land and nature
- providing wholesome, nutritious, and economical food
- reducing crime and blight
- promoting the creation and use of green space
Community gardens are safe, beautiful outdoor spaces on public or private lands, where neighbors meet to grow and care for vegetables, flowers and native plant species. The gardeners take initiative and responsibility for organizing, maintaining and managing the garden area. This participation builds skills and creates positive community development that is widely accessible to a diverse range of people. Partnerships between Toledo GROWs, the Metroparks of the Toledo Area, the City of Toledo, and community organizations have already created additional community benefits, through fostering youth employment, volunteer activity, and the restoration of natural areas.
Community gardens have been shown to revitalize areas from neglected spaces characterized by vandalism and illegal activities into places for community programs and celebration. This transformation takes place when community gardens engage sustained community involvement by youth, families, seniors, intergenerational, ethnic and multicultural groups. There are measurable outcomes that document the success of this collaborative effort. At a number of community gardens, for example, litter, vandalism, documented crime, graffiti and negative park use have declined considerably. Community gardens increase neighborhood engagement.
In 2012, the Robert J. Anderson Agriculture Training Center and greenhouses were completed in downtown Toledo (900 Oneida Street; Toledo, OH 43608). This center is used as an educational forum for Owens Community College students who are studying urban agriculture. Here, under-privileged youth are educated on growing sustainable nourishment.