Volunteering at the Growhouse

Growhouse is a community garden in Downtown Phoenix that is a part of the Roosevelt Row District.  On November 17th, 2013 I had the chance to volunteer at Growhouse with students from Downtown Barrett. Growhouse has partnered with the Roosevelt Row District to create a community location for community members to come together and work to grow a garden that benefits them.

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Growhouse consists of a community garden, private plots for gardeners in the community, a boutique called the GROWop boutique, a chicken coop, a compost area and a beehive.  The GROWop boutique sells handmade vintage and local goods as well as houses local artists art work.

Kenny Barrett, the co-founder of Growhouse and programs manager for Roosevelt Row CDC,  started Growhouse with another artist, Kelly Placke in 2008.  “We didn’t have any experience when we started” he says. “Phoenix is super accessible, especially right now, it’s an exciting time of year because you can really get in and start something right now.” He spoke to BLAST’D, The Barrett Leadership and Service Team Downtown, before they went out and volunteered at Growhouse where they weeded plants, helped paint the house, and planted plants. “Once we started growing enough we started selling our vegetables at the farmers market and now we sell to local restaurants and cafes, like Carly’s” Barrett says. “We get all kinds of people out there volunteering…doing this has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had and it has led to a lot of interesting things.”

“The Growhouse itself is just a magnet of awesome, there is so many beautiful things that have happened as a result of having that place for people to go, to learn about the community and in retrospect to really understand that there is growth within gardens in Downtown Phoenix” says Nicole Underwood Director of operations for the Roosevelt Row CDC, who also spoke to students about Growhouse and Roosevelt Row. “Growhouse kind of comes underneath the A.R.T.S Market Program…and that stands for Activating Temporary Reusable Space and basically we [Roosevelt Row CDC] as an organization saw the dirt lots, not as a deficit but as an opportunity for growth, to activate, to get people involved downtown.”

Bailey Scalise, a student who volunteered at Growhouse, says “It was nice to do volunteer work that was more physical and had an immediate impact on the community.”

Growhouse has many opportunities to volunteer. Every Sunday from 10 am until noon, August thought May, they have a Garden Day at Growhouse. On these days volunteers can help with preparing garden beds, planting, weeding, building things to use within the garden and other projects. To sign up to volunteer contact Kenny Barrett at kenny@rooseveltrow.org.