Helping people improve their lives and communities through gardening and healthy food access. Growing Hope fosters learning, improves nutrition, encourages self-reliance, and promotes positive community futures.
Growing Hope works throughout the community through a capacity-building approach. We firmly believe that engaging a diversity of people from economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds strengthens everyone, especially those with fewer resources. This approach means we don't "serve" people-- we are a partner with and resource for people. Our efforts in outreach are concentrated in parts of our community that are traditionally under-served and where people are struggling the most. As an example, our Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers' Market attracts vendors and customers from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Because such a diversity of the community supports the market, it has grown strong and in 2009 20% of the sales ($21,000) were to low-income customers using food stamps and related low-income assistance programs. We ensure our programs are accessible and affordable to everyone by offering many things for free, and other things along sliding scales where people choose their ability to pay.
Growing Hope serves as a technical assistant, program coordinator/partner, and general resource for non-profit organizations, public agencies, and educational institutions that wish to use gardening as a way to further their social, educational, and/or environmental missions. Activities include providing start-up and ongoing gardening assistance, a garden membership program for individuals or groups, developing and coordinating programs, teaching classes and workshops, developing curricula and training materials, and facilitating partnerships and collaboration. We work to support healthy food access through our farmers' market, local food security advocacy, and by helping individuals and groups get growing.