History & Approach
Growing Hope grew out of the efforts of the Perry Learning Garden (PLG), originally conceived in 1999 as a single school and neighborhood garden site. After the PLG was established interest bloomed throughout Ypsilanti. Perry Learning Garden volunteers and leader Amanda Edmonds partnered with other organizations to create more gardens in the community and to expand garden-based learning and extra-curricular programs. Through partnerships and fiscal sponsorships for some of these projects from Creative Change Educational Solutions and the City of Ypsilanti we applied for funding to begin programs and gained connections in Ypsilanti-area schools.
In 2003 Growing Hope became a federally recognized, 501c3 nonprofit organization. Since, Growing Hope has been empowering local communities to grow and eat healthy food. Young and old come together to grow their own fresh produce, revitalize their neighborhoods and teach one another the beauty and hope that comes from nurturing soil, seeds and self. Neighbors and vendors gather at our farmers' market to connect and share around healthy, local food. Advocacy for social justice, self-reliance and healthy lifestyles results in public policy support for healthy food and urban agriculture.
Using a strengths-based approach, we work to build people’s capacity to use community and school gardens as vehicles for positive social, economic, environmental and neighborhood change. We advocate for healthy food, manage an urban farmers’ market, and train youth and adults to make positive investments in their future. Growing Hope provides training, resources and advocacy to build strong and vital communities.
Strong community partnerships
Investing in young people
Believing in people's ability to be self-reliant
Hope and optimism
In the last seven years, Growing Hope has proven its investment through programs that impact thousands of youth and adults in Ypsilanti, throughout Washtenaw County, and Southeast Michigan. The Growing Hope Center is the next step in anchoring our mission and permanently rooting in our community.