John Schrock and the Neighbors Grow Program
John Schrock won a community grant (Columbus SOUP) in August and used it to strategically buy materials and launch the Neighbors Grow program. Neighbors Grow is a collaboration that supports households to cooperate and create thriving food gardens within their neighborhood. Additional support was contributed by generous donations from Ohio Mulch, discounted rain barrels through the Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District, DIY compost bins from Roots Up, and partnership with the local Non-Profit A&L Afterschool Literacy+ Institute that teaches an extensive urban farming course. Volunteer Ohio State students helped to clean and build organic raised-bed gardens in 5 backyards, as well as assist at the Mt. Vernon AME Church garden. The church and these households, that include a total of 13 children, are in the King Lincoln District (directly east of downtown Columbus), which is an underserved neighborhood located in a food desert. The group will be returning in April to finalize rain barrel installations, help with planting, and provide general guidance. John hopes to continue this cycle (build in the autumn and plant in the spring) annually through additional small grants and expand Neighbors Grow to neighborhoods throughout the Columbus area.