Whether you believe that global warming is a myth or believe that America needs to invest in clean energy, at the end of the day we can both agree that planting a garden to help sustain lower-income communities is a positive action.
"Louisville Grows is a non-profit sustainability consultancy program," Mason Roberts, executive director, said. "For example, we help organizations that either need funds, helping hands, or education on gardening, and we make it happen."
Louisville Grows has only been around for two years but has already made a subtle impact on local communities. With a growing volunteer force of 300 strong, Louisville Grows goes out to urban areas and plants gardens that are either solely available for that particular group or the public.
"Sustainability is really about making the community better, and to help grow the community in a healthy way," Roberts said. " I mean sustainability is something that not only helps save resources but it also helps save money."
Roberts went to graduate school in California but came back to his hometown in Louisville to help make a positive impact and to share his experiences in environmental education with the Louisville community.
"How Louisville Grows came together was through a seed ball event I organized when I came back into town," Roberts said. " We threw seed balls around town and those people who helped me were the ones who really came together for Louisville Grows."
Roberts said what Louisville Grows does is play a consultant role with groups or organizations who are interested in environmental issues. They play a consultant roll but the group asking for advice or help has control of the overall mission.
"The garden on 26th and Jefferson is open to anyone, and anybody can come up and pick a tomato," Roberts said. "We are working on an orchard in Portland and anyone will be able to come up and pick an apple."
Louisville grows is also currently working on several projects, one of which is for the University of Louisville Cultural Center and will be a common ground for students to interact and learn about sustainability.
As with most consultant groups there is a price, but Louisville Grows is non-profit and works on a sliding scale for different businesses and organizations.
"If someone wants to do an event that is non-profit, we would do most of it for free, but if it was the PGA Tournament, we would charge for our help," Roberts said.
Louisville is a place that welcomes growth and creates such an attachment on its community that even when students leave and travel the world they come back to this smaller city and help it grow. Louisville Grows is an excellent representation of Louisville and our communities heartfelt effort to help one another and expand on our knowledge of the environment and the positive effect sustainability can have.
"This is my favorite place in the world and I have lived in and worked in many different cities and countries," Roberts said. "My girlfriend actually says I'm Louisville's biggest fan."
Despite different scientific and political ideologies, there is one thing this organization and our community can agree on.
"We want to help Louisville grow into a better community," Roberts said.
Photo: Courtesy of Louisvillegrows.org
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