O Grows is a community-university partnership with the mission to leverage the local capacity in service of community food needs. Community volunteers, including Auburn University faculty and students, collaborate to operate a series of school/youth garden programs, the Opelika Community Garden, and Opelika’s seasonal, state-certified farmers market from our headquarters at the Southside Center for the Arts.
Each year we get hundreds of K-12 students and adults outside and into a garden or attending a local food event. They learn about their place in the food system and many gain skills in food production. Our Farmers Market is located at the intersection of two of the five most food-insecure areas in Lee County, Alabama. Food insecure residents are supported through the donation of nearly a ton of produce annually to the Community Market of the Food Bank of East Alabama and we are able to promote commerce between small-scale local farmers and thousands of customers.
Our vision is the creation of sustainable community-based food systems, where communities work to create shared value in meeting the food needs of all residents in a manner that is economically, socially, and environmentally viable for future generations.
Your gift will support O Grows’ mission of “Growing Food and Community”. The aim of this project is to (1) harvest 300,000+ gallons of runoff from the Southside Center for the Arts each year by installing a rainwater collection system for the rear-facing roofline; and (2) use the collected water to irrigate the Opelika Community Garden. The project will require 2′ PEX pipe, first flush systems (to remove particulate matter from runoff), (2) 3,000-gallon tanks, and a water pump. O Grows has already purchased one of the water tanks and a local contractor has volunteered his time to ensure timely completion of the project.