Gardening as a Platform for Social Change
At Growing Places (GP), we believe in the power of gardening to improve lives. We help low-income individuals, families, and communities in North Central Massachusetts realize the many health, economic, and social benefits of growing their own produce by building food gardens and teaching the skills to maintain them. Each sustainable garden is designed to meet individual needs and built by a team of volunteers. Working in partnership with individuals, families, non-profit organizations, schools, and public agencies, we identify opportunities in which gardening can:
- Increase access, affordability, and consumption of fresh, healthy vegetables and fruits
- Increase physical, outdoor activity
- Improve mental and emotional well-being
- Promote pride in and enjoyment of neighborhoods
- Increase social and interpersonal connections
- Provide satisfying volunteer opportunities
- And enhance strategies to create a socially-just, regional food system for all.
Part of a network of organizations and agencies addressing related issues – such as hunger, nutrition, food security, and community health and wellness – we actively seek opportunities in which gardening can complement and enhance regional strategic initiatives.
Gardening Makes a Difference
GP works to address the high levels of poverty, food insecurity, health-related problems, and limited access to fresh foods prevalent in North Central Massachusetts. Our work also responds to an ongoing demand for our garden and nutrition programs from low-income individuals and community partners, growing interest in promoting healthy activities in the region, and providing opportunities to build community.
GP staff and volunteers are passionate about gardening. Longtime gardeners themselves, they have a deep appreciation for the sense of accomplishment associated with growing their own food, gardening’s many physical and mental health benefits, and personal relationships built through gardening. While this visceral commitment to gardening is central to GP’s identity, our programs are grounded in evidence-based research and best practices. A review of scientific research on the benefits of gardening and evaluations conducted by gardening organizations across the country have helped us identify specific outcomes associated with the types of gardening GP promotes.