Mobile Gardening Program

Mobile Gardening Program expands in Niagara County

Abandoned shopping carts to be used as gardens for city residents--Program to increase access to fruits and vegetables in urban areas

LOCKPORT, NY — Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is pleased to announce the expansion of Grow on the Go to new neighborhoods in Niagara County. Last year’s successful growing season helped spread this mobile gardening initiative to Lockport and the LaSalle neighborhood of Niagara Falls.   This program will help Lockport and Niagara Falls residents grow fruits and vegetables in an urban environment where there can be many challenges in maintaining a successful garden including apartment living with no greenspace, rental homes with limitations on yard space, lack of sunlight, lack of equipment, lack of previous experience or knowledge of gardening.

“Grow on the Go” is based off the North Coast Food Web mobile gardens concept, using abandoned shopping carts as gardens. The shopping carts will be repurposed and filled with weed block liner, soil, and plants. The program allows one shopping cart per household, giving individuals and families their own “greenspace”. Using shopping carts allows the garden to be wheeled into buildings, onto elevators, and into apartments. If sunlight in an apartment is an issue, the cart owner can take their garden for a walk to give the garden the sunlight it needs to grow.

“We had such a tremendous community response last year and participants really enjoyed the program. Many of them reported eating more fruits and vegetables by the end of summer. That kind of response and feedback is what helped us grow the project.” said CCE-Niagara County Senior Nutritionist Justine Hays.

The LaSalle branch library in Niagara Falls serves as the host site for Grow on the Go for the 2017 season. “We are so excited to be able to offer this program at the lovely and vibrant LaSalle Library this year. I know our patrons in that neighborhood will be excited to create their own mobile garden,” said Joanna Battaglia, a librarian from the Niagara Falls Public Library.

“By partnering again with the Niagara Falls library system, we are able to break down the barriers of knowledge and previous experience,” Hays said. “The library is filled with books and computer resources on how to grow, harvest, and cook the nutritious foods we will be growing in the carts. The location of the LaSalle branch helps us reach even more Falls’ residents.”

In the city of Lockport, Cornell Cooperative Extension has partnered with Outreach at Saint John’s. Outreach at Saint John’s is dedicated to providing various services and programs to lower income families throughout Eastern Niagara County. Eat Smart NY nutritionist, Marla Guarino, who has worked closely with the Outreach Center hopes this program will allow more individuals and families to have fresh vegetables in their homes. “Adults can learn to prepare easy, healthy meals for themselves and develop a love for fruits and veggies. Our participating families can share the experience of keeping a garden healthy, picking fresh food, and being excited to taste it together.” Guarino stated.

The library and outreach center will also serve as a common gathering site where cart owners can meet for bi-monthly “Cart Clinics”. These clinics will include an Eat Smart New York nutritionist, who will provide support to the participants so they can learn how to use the healthy foods they are growing and incorporate more healthy foods into their diet. The clinics will also periodically include a Master Gardener from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, to provide hands on support for gardening questions or concerns. All are welcome to attend the planting party and cart clinics, even if they don’t have a garden. “We will be doing lots of hands on cooking and exploring how to bring MyPlate into our lives at every meal It’s a great opportunity for community members who want to get some nutritious recipe ideas and practical cooking skills, especially since it’s all FREE!” said Hays.

The first gathering for Grow on the Go at Saint John’s Outreach in Lockport will be held on Friday, June 9. This event will be a celebration of spring and an opportunity for garden owners to plant their gardens. The dates for the subsequent clinics at the library are as follows:


Planting Party6/9/1712:00pm
Cart Clinic6/16/1711:00am
Cart Clinic6/23/1711:00am
Cart Clinic6/30/1711:00am
Cart Clinic7/71711:00am
Cart Clinic7/14/17 11:00am


The first gathering for Grow on the Go at LaSalle branch library in Niagara Falls will be held on June 5. This event will also be a celebration of spring and opportunity for gardeners to plant their mobile garden. The dates for subsequent clinics are as follows:

Planting Party06/05/20174:00-6:00pm
Cart Clinic7/10/20173:00pm
Cart Clinic8/07/20173:00pm


About Cornell Cooperative Extension:

Cornell Cooperative Extension puts knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being. We bring local experience and research based solutions together, helping New York State families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world. Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.

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