Growing to Green is Columbus’ largest organized effort to promote and provide free community resources for community gardening and city beautification. Initiated in March 2000, Growing to Green has assisted in the start-up or renovation of more than 300 community gardens throughout the central Ohio area.
Growing to Green assists individuals and groups interested in starting a community garden, neighborhood beautification project, or a school learning garden.
The 2019 Growing to Green Awards were held Thursday, September 12, 2019 at The Wells Barn at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Growing to Green Awards honor the dedication and hard work of many central Ohio communities and individuals while furthering Growing to Green’s objective of promoting participation in city beautification and community gardening.
Neighborhood Improvement Project of the Year
2019 Winner: Growing Community and Family Concerns Urban Farm
This South Side garden, once a space overgrown with tall grass and weeds, produced more than 800 pounds of fresh produce this year. The harvest was distributed door to door as well as to a local food pantry, directly impacting more than 100 households in the area.
The Neighborhood Improvement Project of the Year award, sponsored by the City of Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Board, is presented to a park, community garden, gateway, streetscape, school or other community beautification project. An award of $250 is given to the project that has done the most to benefit its surrounding community.
Education Garden of the Year
2019 Winner: Star House Education Garden
Star House provides a safe environment, basic needs, and unique hands-on educational opportunities for homeless youth ages 14-24 years old.
Education Garden of the year Award is presented to a school or other organization that utilizes garden projects for educational purposes. An award of $500 is given to the top garden in this category.
Paul B. Redman Youth Leadership Award
2019 Winner: Daniel Wooden of the Hardy Center Hope Garden
Daniel started a community garden during his spring break, harvested produce for local farmers’ markets on his weekends, and has been a leader to other students who are interested in gardening.
The Paul B. Redman Youth Leadership Award is presented by the Women’s Board of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, this award is given to an outstanding youth gardener age 18 or younger. An award of $250 is given to the winner to further his/her education and interest in gardening or to make improvement in his/her community.
2019 Winner: Highland Youth Garden
From installing a cistern to conserve water, to offering lessons on composting, recycling and soil health, the Highland Youth Garden has developed practices to ensure stainability for future generations.
The Sustainability Award is presented to a garden that is utilizing sustainable community gardening practices, including community-building activities, sustainable garden design, and utilization of green practices (e.g. rain barrels) and / or has proven sustainable over the long term. $250 is awarded to further advance the sustainability of the community garden.
Community Gardener of the Year
2019 Winner: Irma Chon of the Upper Arlington Lutheran Church Community Garden
With a focus on helping immigrant neighbors, Irma has overcome significant logistical challenges to get fresh produce on the tables of those of different cultural backgrounds. She has also used the garden to help immigrants improve their English proficiency and entrepreneurial skills.
Community Gardener of the Year award is presented to an individual who is exceptionally dedicated to his/her neighborhood garden and or the movement of community gardening in central Ohio. An award of $250 is given to the winner to be applied toward his/her community gardening project.
Community Garden of the Year
2019 Winner: South Central Commons Community Garden
A source of great civic pride, the South Central Commons Community Garden is an example of how gardens unite and strengthen a community – to the extent that even the children have become advocates. Two abandoned homes nearby have recently been renovated for this continued community improvement project.
Community Garden of the Year award is presented to a neighborhood gardening project for beautification and/or food production. An award of $500 is given to the top garden in this category.
Boyd W. Bowden Garden Impact Award
2019 Winner: Highland Youth Garden
The Highland Youth Garden is a safe and beautiful oasis in a community struggling with poverty, violence and drug addiction. More than a source of fresh produce and flowers, this garden is a place for adults to gather and children to play, with an educational component that touches the lives of 400 youths every year. Furthering the community spirit, the garden’s harvests are sent home with students, given away at community celebrations and sold at farmers’ markets.
The Boyd W. Bowden Garden Impact Award is presented to a community garden that has shown significant and sustainable impact on the health and vitality of its community in one of five areas: Nutrition and Wellness, Food Production, Children’s Education, Job Training and Celebrating Culture. Presented by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and the Bowden Family, the winner of this award will receive $750 to further impact the community and garden project. This award honors Dr. Bowden’s love of gardening and his life-long commitment to improve community health and the quality of life of citizens in Central Ohio.
We Dig Ohio Urban Agriculture & Community Garden Summit
Growing to Green Resource Guide
View the Growing to Green Resource Guide for community gardening best practices as defined by industry leaders and top research institutions.
Twelve hub gardens throughout central Ohio serve as gardening education centers for their communities and as inspirational resources for anyone interested in community gardening. These well-established gardens and urban farms excel in serving their neighborhood by providing increased access to fresh, healthy food, and developing programs for youth education, job training, and cultural enrichment.