The Growing Hope Story
In 2003, Growing Hope became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on school garden development throughout Ypsilanti. Since then, we have expanded to strengthen and support the local food system throughout the community. In 2006, we started the downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market and began managing the Depot Town Farmers Market in 2013. In 2008, we established the Growing Hope Center and Urban Farm where people of all ages learn to grow their own food. The Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace and Growing Hope Incubator Kitchen were completed in 2018 to better support local farmers and food entrepreneurs. In 2020, we adapted to community needs as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic by opening the Ypsi Area Online Market, a year-round online farmers market.
Our programs run out of our two locations, the Growing Hope Urban Farm and the Ypsilanti Farmers Marketplace.
The Growing Hope Urban Farm
Our urban farm is a community based garden education site in Ypsilanti. We offer educational programs for gardeners of all levels, volunteers, and youth of all ages. Our produce is grown to sell at our farmers markets and donate to our program participants, our community produce cart, and local food pantries.
Home Vegetable Garden Program
The Home Vegetable Garden Program supports working class Ypsilanti area residents to garden at home. We provide participants with free garden beds or containers, horticultural education, connection with other gardeners, and mentors. Program participants receive free garden beds, compost, seedlings, seeds, and other tools and supplies. In addition to the materials, each gardener receives a mid-season visit from our staff, and the option of a seasoned garden mentor for additional support.
There’s plenty to do on the Growing Hope Urban Farm and volunteers assist us every step of the way. Volunteers help sort seeds, propagate and transplant seedlings, water, weed, prepare garden beds, harvest and more. We have opportunities for individuals, student groups and employer-sponsored days.
Teen Leadership Program
Growing Hope’s Teen Leadership Program cultivates young food justice leaders in Ypsilanti by developing skills and knowledge in sustainable farming, healthy eating, education, and community organizing. These skills are gained through our year-round summer and after school programs. This is a paid opportunity open to all high school aged youth who live in Ypsilanti and the surrounding townships. Youth are paid $13/hour for their work.
Youth Field Trips on the Farm
The Growing Hope Urban Farm provides fun and experiential field trips for youth PreK-12th grade. Each field trip includes a tour of our urban farm, an age appropriate hands-on lesson in nutrition/cooking, and a STEAM based garden activity.
Urban farm field trips are offered March – May and September – mid-November.
The Ypsilanti Farmers Marketplace
Our Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace is a hub for local food activity. The Marketplace hosts the Growing Hope Incubator Kitchen, the Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market, and is a distribution center for the Ypsi Area Online Market.
Ypsilanti Farmers Markets
Since 2013, Growing Hope has managed and funded the beloved and historic Depot Town Farmers Market in Ypsilanti on Saturdays. Since 2006, Growing Hope’s Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market has been a source of fresh, affordable food for all income levels on Tuesdays. Our Tuesday and Saturday markets are outdoors weekly from May through October, and the Ypsi Area Online Market runs year-round.
Growing Hope Incubator Kitchen
The Growing Hope Incubator Kitchen provides an accessible space for startup food businesses looking to take their business to the next level. The licensed kitchen is open 24/7 to rent for affordable hourly rates and offers professional-grade equipment. Growing Hope helps our kitchen renters navigate food safety regulations, permitting, and facilitates connections to new retail markets.