Garden Coordinator Institute

This coming winter, MCG will hold it’s 6th Garden Coordinator Institute, a leadership program that engages Lowell’s newest leaders in the urban food production movement. The goal of the Garden Coordinator Institute is to create a corps of school and community members who are skilled and knowledgeable in the practices of organic, urban food production, cultural competency, food justice and are empowered to become leaders in their own community and school gardens throughout Lowell.

The structure of the institute consists of 7 workshops during the winter. School Garden Coordinators take what they learned during the institute and implement food/garden related education into their curriculum and help maintain the school gardens during the summer. Community Garden Coordinators work closely with Mill City Grows to help maintain the infrastructure of their gardens and engage the garden community through potlucks and garden workdays (summer program of volunteerism), skill building sessions, and hands-on community and school garden experience. Last year, 31 gardeners completed the institute and went on to share their skills both in the garden and in the wider community of Lowell. This coming year we are expecting to see a similar turnout and are excited to engage a whole new group of gardeners.

Here are a few testimonials from the class of 2016:

“Being part of a group of different people helped to remind me that not everyone thinks alike. I’m more “shy type,” quiet listener, observer, where others are not and I learn from them.”

“It’s helped me to realize that no matter our personalities, we all have something to add to a group. I’ll be less apt to judge someone or thinking we can’t see eye to eye, simply because we have different styles or personalities.”

“I feel much more knowledgable in regards to gardening skills.  Thanks to GCI, I feel my garden will be very successful this season.”

“I can reach out to a support system and also give back to that system.”

“The training on cultural competency opened my eyes with respects to gardening such as plant choices, communication, signage, and skills needed to make people from diverse backgrounds and cultures feel welcome, and as valuable contributors to the garden and it’s growth.”


We are currently recruiting leaders from Mill City Grows community gardens and school garden partners to join the 2018 Garden Coordinator Institute. If you would like more information, or to apply, please contact Laura Santiago at