About Toledo GROWs
Toledo GROWs is a grassroots effort dedicated to the continued growth and success of community-based gardens in the City of Toledo and the surrounding area. 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.
Currently GROWs serves more than 130 community gardens. These include gardens at schools and other organizations, faith-based gardens, and neighborhood gardens. Throughout the seasons, Toledo GROWs works with community garden organizers to ensure that they have everything necessary to create a vibrant community garden.
Support for Community Gardens
Toledo GROWs is housed at the Robert J. Anderson Urban Agriculture Center, located at 900 Oneida Street, on a three acre farm in the heart of the city of Toledo. The site serves as home base for services provided to 130+ community gardens throughout the city and surrounding area. Services provided to community gardens in the Toledo GROWs network include:
- Technical expertise in assisting gardeners to plan, build, and maintain their community garden.
- Free seeds and seedlings for each growing season.
- Free loan of tools for large work days at gardens.
- Assistance with recruiting volunteers for large work days.
- Educational opportunities, including workshops and opportunities to learn from the growing efforts at the urban farm.
- Networking with other community gardeners, particularly through quarterly meetings of community gardeners.
- Materials, such as compost and rain barrels, as they become available.
- Advocating in the community for urban gardening.
Community gardens enhance the quality of life in many ways:
- transform neglected spaces into safe, beautiful gardens where neighborhood engagement brings people of all ages and backgrounds together
- connect urban dwellers back to the land and nature
- provide wholesome, nutritious, and economical food
- reduce crime and blight
- promote the creation and use of green space
- create positive community development
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 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.