project leader
Danielle V
935 Baxter St SE
(The Baxter Neighborhood behind Wealthy Street Business District )
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Special Thanks

the project

Our goal is to equip our neighborhood gardeners with the tools, plants, seeds, and supplies they need to grow healthy foods for their families. We already have a seed library and a library of gardening, canning, and cooking books. Each year we distribute over 1500 seedlings to neighbors and other community organizations. Now we want to start a tool library so that everyone has the ability to start and maintain beautiful, productive gardens! 

The families in our raised bed program already have access to our seed and book libraries, free soil testing for heavy metals, free plants from our greenhouse, garden mentoring, and monthly workshops. Not only does our program immediately benefit our neighborhood, but we are also part of a state wide Food Security study with five universities. The study will help define food security in Michigan and promote the best solutions to truly make a change.

Adding a tool library for our neighbors would take our program to the next level! Many of our neighbors don’t have access to shovels, rakes, hand trowels, etc. to help maintain their gardens. If we can raise enough support, tillers and power tools would allow neighbors and other community organizations build more garden spaces. We were the first organization in Grand Rapids to open a community greenhouse, but others are jumping on board and starting their own creative programs-- we want to do all we can to share what we’ve learned and give them the tools they need to succeed! 

the steps

Beginning in November of 2013 we will start buying the tools we need to stock our tool library. We will also test out; a possible host site so that library users can check out tools and see our inventory online. The 19 families in our Raised Bed Program right now are the most invested in the project, so we’ll talk to them to make sure we are supplying the tools they need and that our check out system is practical and easy to use. We will launch the tool library in March 2014. Tools will be available for anyone in the community to use, but especially the families in our Raised Bed Program and our community partners that are starting their own urban agriculture programs that benefit low income families. Any extra funding will be kept as a replacement budget for lost and broken tools-- we want our tool library to be a permanent addiion to our community! 

why we're doing it

Our Raised Bed gardening program serves a neighborhood where 33.5% of households fall below the poverty line, 17.5% of residents are unemployed, and 99% of school-aged children qualify for the free or reduced lunch program at their school.  In 2009, the Health Department’s food security assessment declared that the Baxter neighborhood was a food desert.  

Our Greenhouse and Raised Bed programs work to increase food security by providing fresh produce and programming to enhance nutrition, environmental awareness, and community spirit. The addition of a tool library would not only allow neighbors to have more productive gardens, but would help build even stronger ties in our community by promoting shared resources. 

Since beginning the program, we have been overwhelmed with the community response. People in our neighborhood are excited to be doing something collectively that adds beauty, builds relationships, and addresses important health issues our families face. Please consider us!


We are going to start small and grow the libary as we go to ensure success and sustainability. $2,000 is enough to cover the cost of starting the library, storing the tools, and utilizing the online check out system offered by Below is a breakdown of our budget: 

1) online checkout system--- $75/year for two years: $150

2) 7 shelf commercial bin rack system to store hand tools: $190/ Home Depot

3) Tool holders for shovels, rakes, etc: $10/each @ Home Depot x3: $30

4) Tool start up budget for shovels, rakes, trowels, forks, weeders, drills, hammers, roto tillers, etc-- to be srouced both new and gently used with the goal of 10 each in hand tools and 3 each power tools: $815

5) Replacement budget to maintain library: $815 

ioby Platform Fee $35
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $60

RAISED = $2,235



Special Thanks

Special thanks to our donors:

  • J. BASS
  • J. APOL
  • T. VOSS
  • D. VOS
  • G. BUTTS
  • R. ERBES
  • M. NOVAK
  • S. BEER

As well as:

  • Collective community contributions from Tomato Fest 2013
  • Fulton St. Farmers Market Shoppers' collective contributions


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Philip Q.
  • John A.
  • Gregory D.
  • Lisa M.
  • Danielle G.
  • Jodi J.
  • Madelynn Z.
  • Anna J.
  • Mythri J.
  • Mary N.
  • Melanie B.
  • Luke M.
  • Joan B.
  • Renee K.
  • Shawna B.
  • Tomato F.
  • Vanessa S.
  • John A.
  • Cathleen C.
  • Taylor V.
  • Jonathan S.
  • Dan V.
  • Gary B.
  • Randall P.
  • Sharon L.
  • Valerie P.
  • Rhonda E.
  • Joshua M.
  • Pamela S.
  • Danielle V.