Part of Price Hill Will’s
mission is to improve the neighborhood through community engagement, and the organization has found an innovative new way of doing so—by shifting the traditional model of community gardening.
“Not everyone’s going to be able to come out to a community garden, so we wanted to diversify our green program so that we can help people in their own places and really meet everybody’s needs where their needs are,” says Pamela Taylor, Price Hill Will’s community outreach coordinator.
So the nonprofit created a program called Grow It Forward.
“We come to your home, install garden beds and get you started with planting free of charge,” says Chris Smyth, sustainability coordinator at Price Hill Will. “All we ask in return is that you help with three more garden installs.”
So a community member requests a garden setup, which is customized depending on how much space is available and what an individual wants to grow. Then they volunteer their time by interacting with their neighbors to help them do the same.
“It’s kind of a decentralized model of community gardening by bringing people together to help with each others’ gardens,” Taylor says. “Or people can share seeds or sprouts, plants, or even produce later on.”
In addition to receiving a garden setup and the motivation to meet your neighbors while offering a helping hand, Taylor says there are a multitude of other benefits the program offers.
“It’s fun to be out in the back yard gardening in the sun. It’s healthy growing fresh fruits and vegetables, and it’s much cheaper to grow your own foods and supplement nutrition than it is to go out and buy produce at the grocery store or the farmer’s market where it might be even more expensive,” Taylor says.
“And if people have difficult work schedules or transportation issues getting to a community garden, it’s a lot more accessible for them. There are also a lot of barriers people have—but there’s a source of knowledge we can share about what goes together well, what types of plants will grow when, and things like that.”
Chris Smyth if you'd like a garden set up, or if you're interested in volunteering your gardening skills and knowledge.
Price Hill Will by donating.
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By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.