Lowell Sprouts, DifferenceMakers
Lowell Sprouts is an organization that utilizes school gardens as a way to educate middle school children about the importance of sustainable, organic agriculture. Lowell Sprouts was formed by UMass Lowell psychology major, Mary Beth Burwood. Since formation, Sean Hicks, a marketing major and Christopher Horne, an economics major have joined her team. Sean and Chris originally had a similar idea of rooftop gardening. They met Mary Beth through the DifferenceMaker Program and shared a similar passion, which allowed them to form a team together and merge ideas.
Lowell Sprouts has implemented their programming into the Butler Middle School located in Lowell, in order to teach children about gardening, healthy eating and exercise. In addition, Lowell Sprouts is focused on providing access to fresh and affordable produce by creating gardens on school grounds, senior centers and the rooftops in the city of Lowell. In addition, the organization is educating the community about alternative ways that gardens can be grown in urban places like Lowell, and to teach the community that crops can be grown and harvested in an urban environment.
Lowell Sprouts entered the DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge and won first place in the “Sustainable Environment” category, a $3,500 award. They utilized their winnings to implement raised bed gardens into Rogers Hall located in Lowell. With their remaining funds, they plan to launch the first rooftop garden in Lowell at the Pyne Arts School. In addition to winning the 2013 Idea Challenge, the team gained more funding and publicity by being featured in the Merrimack Valley Sandbox’s promotional video.
The team plans to create a green presence throughout the city of Lowell that will educate the community on urban gardening and growing rooftop gardens throughout the greater region.