Grow NWI [video by Rod J. Eckrich]


Grow Northwest Indiana brings communities together in the pursuit of greener pastures

Most people tend to their own yards for gardening, but Grow NWI has a different idea of what gardening can be. Grow NWI, formed out of County Line Orchard and Luke Oil, would like to develop community gardens and farms all over the counties of Lake and Porter in Northwest Indiana. The program brings together people who are interested in working  toward the goal of building these public gardens in communities throughout The Region. To participate all you need is time to spare and the willingness to get your hands a little dirty.

Formed in 2011, the reactions to Grow NWI so far have been positive. These gardens have survived without damage due to vandalism too. For being such a newly developed program, the idea to have a community garden in every municipal area seems daunting, but could be achieved with time. Other groups have done similar projects and have had success. Indiana University Northwest, for instance, has placed gardens near vacant campus properties. 

On a Saturday in August I happened to see gardening in action as I visited the city of Gary. St. Timothy's church property has an area that Luke Oil/County Line Orchard started in May with the help of St. Timothy's church member Mrs. Johnson. From 11-4pm workers helped with weeding, mulching, and planting. Aside from members of Grow NWI, St. Timothy's had about six volunteers, and kids from the Gary Boys and Girls club helped out as well. There were kids who seemed to take pride in helping out. For kids, a community garden can show how to grow vegetables at home, as opposed to relying entirely on supermarkets. It also teaches the kids a bit about organic gardening techniques and allows them to partake in a community building activity.

Having a place where people get together and help to turn an eye sore of vacant property into something that everyone can enjoy is a good thing. If you have green thumbs and you are interested in seeing this program “grow”, contact