ABOUT LET'S GROW AKRON

Let's Grow Akron is a non-profit organization that creates and supports community food gardens and beautification sites in neighborhoods with limited access to fresh food and green space. Let’s Grow Akron has a history of community gardening, increasing food access, and providing technical assistance in methods of using urban lands for food production since 1988. Educational programs empower people to grow their own food, prepare healthy meals from the harvest, preserve the surplus and ultimately increase food security.
Akron, Ohio community gardens and local food production

Mission Statement

To overcome urban blight and alleviate hunger in the community by teaching people to grow, prepare and preserve their own food and working alongside them to beautify their neighborhoods.

Let’s Grow Akron strives to accomplish this mission through...


Engaging our underserved neighbors living in areas where there is limited access to affordable, healthy, fresh food and green space.


Organizing the community to create shared spaces for gathering and growing food has a resounding impact on the neighborhood. Working together toward a common goal establishes lasting relationships. Positive interactions among neighbors in a shared effort to transform unsightly vacant lots into productive community gardens increases a sense of community ownership and pride and often leads to other issues being addressed. 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 create a strong community.
Organizing community through community gardens

Creating and assisting neighbors and community groups in establishing community gardens and providing support and resources for continued sustainability.


Let’s Grow Akron is equipped to implement and teach the full spectrum of reclaiming urban land for food production. Staff and volunteers provide instruction on community organizing, site assessment, soil testing, clearing and preparing the land, navigating local regulations for land use and water access, seed starting, distribution of donated seeds and transplants, plant maintenance, environmentally friendly disease and pest management, sustainable growing practices, soil quality improvement, composting, season extension, and seed saving techniques.
Reclaiming urban land for food production

Educating, organizing and empowering people to make a change.


Let’s Grow Akron’s urban agriculture programs provide technical assistance in reclaiming vacant lots for growing food and beautification. Summer garden programs provide educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for children to learn to grow and sell produce. Nutrition education promotes the importance of increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Cooking and food preservation classes provide instruction on how to prepare healthy meals and to preserve the garden harvest to be consumed throughout the year. Empowering people to grow, prepare and preserve their own food allows low and fixed income households to take more control of their food choices, relieve strained food budgets and ultimately increase overall health.
Urban agriculture programs providing assistance in reclaiming vacant lots for growing food and beautification

OUR HISTORY

In 1988, as a response to a growing concern about inner city neighborhood deterioration and limited access to affordable healthy foods, Elaine Evans established Let’s Grow Akron as a nonprofit community gardening organization. She started with a sack of donated potatoes and went to work with neighbors to clear the first overgrown vacant lot on Long Street. The harvest that year from just one lot yielded an overflowing truckload of potatoes; enough to feed the neighborhood and give back to the hunger center that had donated the original sack. This was only the beginning. Over the years she worked alongside every imaginable underserved demographic to build community while growing food. She transformed hundreds of unsightly vacant lots into productive gardens, fed thousands, and donated innumerable amounts of fresh produce.

Elaine had a very special love for children and established the Harvest of Hope Children's Community Garden program to teach inner city kids how to grow and sell fruit, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. She gathered the children in the Summit Lake area and teams of adult volunteers to clear one of Akron’s top ten illegal dump sites to create The Children's Garden. A 19,000 square foot lot was transformed to include a pond, stream and walking bridge, an arbor, and ABC garden with a plant for every letter of the alphabet, a 60 foot canal boat replica, a 13 foot dinosaur, and several other sculptures that were planted in the numerous flower beds.

Let’s Grow Akron celebrates its 28th year as a nonprofit community gardening organization. The work of founder Elaine Evans is visible throughout the inner city where she transformed vacant lots into green spaces and community gardens that continue to improve neighborhoods and feed the neighbors. After the retirement and unfortunate passing of Ms. Evans, the torch was passed to Lisa Marie Nunn to continue Let’s Grow Akron’s mission to overcome urban blight and alleviate hunger in the community by teaching the underserved in our community to grow, prepare and preserve their own food while working alongside them to beautify their neighborhood.


Elaine Evans

Elaine Evans
Let's Grow Akron Founder
1988