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Nonprofit Spotlight: Let's Grow Akron

Community garden with a sign for Let's Grow Akron

Let's Grow Akron is a true grassroots organization in every context. For 35 years, the nonprofit has helped improve neighborhoods and alleviate hunger by working alongside residents to create healthy food systems using community gardening and education. Not only are people eating healthier as a result, but they also learn to prepare and preserve their own food, proactively improving their health, while beautifying these neighborhoods.

With last year's $12,000 Health & Human Services grant, Let's Grow Akron served 3,500 people, with an abundant range of services and outcomes, like distributing more than 10,000 seed packets, launching 25 Community Food Gardens that serve 200 households, and providing 10,000 pounds of fresh food grown for community meals, food pantries and direct delivery.

The nonprofit also hosted weekly Summit Lake Farmers Markets, in addition to conducting monthly seasonal cooking classes, Cook Well Eat Well Live Well classes with food kits, food preservation and community canning sessions, and weekly Kids in the Garden programs. Let's Grow Akron's deep community roots help the organization attract a variety of volunteers of all ages, especially school-age students and interns.

Helping to organize the community and creating shared spaces for growing food has created long-lasting and authentic relationships for Let's Grow Akron. "Positive interactions among neighbors in a shared effort to transform unsightly vacant lots into productive community gardens increases a sense of pride and ownership that often leads to other issues being addressed," states the organization's website. "Healthy relationships, community involvement, outdoor physical activity and increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables all contribute to mental and physical health and wellness. Increased health and wellness ultimately build a stronger community."

Let's Grow Akron's comprehensive services also include navigating regulations for lands use, water access, seed-saving techniques, soil testing and preparing local plots of land for their agricultural journey.

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