"Just as a light from a candle can be seen more clearly in a darkened room, so can the human benefits of plants be seen more easily in communities lacking in economic and social opportunity." —Charles Lewis
Washington, D.C. neighborhoods range from those having virtually no economic structures to those having more money than they know what to do with. No matter where I am in the city, however, I almost always see green. Whether it’s a single potted geranium on a porch, a shade-giving tulip tree, or a 15-plot community garden ready for harvest, the feeling that green spaces give to a run-down neighborhood is hope.
An organization that facilitates some of that hope is Garden Resources of Washington, or GROW. Director Judy Tiger and her staff of Americorps volunteers are the movers and shakers of organic community gardening in the neighborhoods of D.C. Their mission is to help people help themselves by providing opportunities for individuals and communities to produce food, beautify neighborhoods, and to become environmental stewards through community green spaces and gardens. Together they are vision shapers, organizers, and educators for newly starting gardens, as well as friends to already existing community gardens. GROW provides services ranging from conversations about garden start-up to years of support, including such tasks as finding landowners and getting permission for land use. Their help is often even more down-to-earth—their large white truck is stocked with tools, hoses, seeds, and mulch.