Kowalski, J.1; Lisa Nunn2
1Extension Educator, Ohio State University, Akron, OH, 44307
2Executive Director, Let's Grow Akron, Akron, OH, 44314


Interest in backyard and community gardening continues to grow.  Extension services, Master Gardener Volunteers, non-profit organizations and many others encourage growing produce for health, community development and food security reasons.  However, gardening is not a practice that everyone has experience with and there is a recognized need to offer support and technical training to help interested persons develop self-sufficiency skills.   The Ohio State University Extension (ANR) and Summit County Master Gardener Volunteers (SCMGV) have partnered with Let’s Grow Akron (LGA) for five years to host a day-long gardening season kick-off event called “Let’s Get Growing”.  Each partner brings unique skills and talents to the table to offer this event to the public.

The goals of this event are to:

  • Provide gardening education on basic and advanced horticulture topics

  • Introduce community members to other community groups in the region that support gardening

  • Provide networking opportunities for those seeking more engagement in the local food system

This free event is typically held in February/March.  The SCMGV Community Gardening Committee, the ANR Extension Educator and LGA plan the event.  Evaluation results from previous events provide guidance for workshop topics. The event is held at an easy to reach, central location.   Community partners such as the Summit County Soil and Water District also participate.  A seed swap is included in the event activities. A survey is used the conclusion of the event to evaluate effectiveness. Over the past five years over 400 persons have participated in this highly anticipated event, highlighting the value of partnering to reach common goals.

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