Growing Community in Bemidji

At just 16, Bridget Westrum founded Growing Our Future, a gardening organization that serves young people in her hometown of Bemidji.

masked woman with seeds

Bridget Westrum founded Growing Our Future to connect her community through gardening.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, she recognized that community members felt disconnected. She wanted a safe and beneficial way to bring people together again. From her driveway, she started Growing Our Future to share plants and other gardening supplies. Since then, the group has put together hundreds of different gardening kits, including kits to grow flowers, herbs and vegetables, and has distributed them to youth in the Bemidji area. Bridget tapped the Minnesota Green program of MSHS for seeds, which has given the group access to hundreds of seeds for the kits.

She believes everyone should have the opportunity to garden and demonstrates this by supporting families with a variety of needs. The answer to that need may be physical, such as providing a container garden along with the seed kit to adapt to apartment living, or something intangible like needing gardening advice, the group strives to accommodate the needs of all. Community members outside the organization even benefit from the positivity that Growing Our Future has brought.​​

In 2022, they will distribute even more kits than last year. Two community share tables have been set up for food or gardening supply donations. In the future, Bridget hopes to expand the program to reach more youth and families around Minnesota. The program has not only empowered families to grow their own healthy food, but also helped bring her community back together.

The future is bright for Growing Our Future.

Leave a Comment