Growing Places envisions a sustainable North Central Massachusetts comprised of healthy people and healthy communities.


Our mission is to inspire and connect North Central MA residents to create equitable access to healthy food through education, collaboration and sustainable practices.


Working with individuals, families, non-profit organizations, farmers, businesses, schools and public agencies, we aim to:

  • Make fresh, healthy food more accessible, affordable and widely consumed
  • Improve physical, mental and emotional well-being
  • Build skills, knowledge and confidence to grow and prepare fresh, healthy food sustainably
  • Foster neighborhood pride and enjoyment
  • Increase social and interpersonal connections
  • Build community leadership skills
  • Build healthy habits and lifestyle skills
  • Advocate for a socially just regional food system
  • Build organizational cultural knowledge and competency


We promote healthy people and healthy communities by:

  • Providing resources for people to garden in community settings
  • Teaching and advocating sustainable growing, preparation and consumption of food
  • Gathering data, stories and practices to build knowledge of the cultural diversity in our community
  • Creating opportunities and engaging a diverse group of stakeholders to support our work, including as program participants, volunteers, leaders, partners, donors, and investors
  • Facilitating direct-to-consumer sales of affordable and healthy food, and encouraging the use and availability of federal nutrition programs
  • Teaching and promoting environmentally healthy and sustainable living practices
  • Assuming leadership in the promotion of regional food access strategies
  • Designing and implementing strategies and systems to secure and sustain the financial and human resources to serve our mission


PDF view: 2017 Annual Gratitude Report

WEB GP GratitudeReport2017


In 2001, Harvard, Massachusetts, residents Kate Deyst and Cindy Buhner heard the story of Dan Barker and were inspired to launch the Growing Places Garden Project. Dan Barker, founder of the Home Gardening Project Foundation, began donating raised-bed vegetable gardens to people in need in the Portland, Oregon area in 1984. Kate and Cindy believed they could bring the power of gardening to communities in Central Massachusetts. In their first season, they built five gardens, using their own tools and hard work. Since that modest beginning, Growing Places has created more than 450 gardens and provided technical support to more than 1,500 low-income people in North Central Massachusetts. Organizationally, GP has successfully matured beyond its founding board and unpaid volunteer staff. We are led by a dynamic, community based board of directors. Today the organization is supported by a professional staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.