GROW Jamestown

GROW Jamestown is a community-wide partnership to promote gardening, landscaping and other greening activities throughout Jamestown. Collectively, these efforts promote neighborhood beautification and revitalization, healthy lifestyles, civic engagement, and productive reuse of vacant lots and underutilized spaces.

Special GROW Jamestown initiatives have included:

  • Garden Fair
  • Community Gardens
  • Front Garden Recognition Program
  • Hands on Jamestown
  • Great June Seedling Giveaway

The GROW Jamestown projects have been successfully transferred to local non-profit agencies. The Grow Jamestown Garden Fair & Home Show, the Community Gardens, and the Great June Seedling Giveaway are being directed by Linnea Carlson, the manager of the Jamestown Public Market, and St. Luke’s. Hands on Jamestown has been absorbed by the Chautauqua County Land Bank. The model developed in Jamestown is now being used all over the county. There is hope that the Front Yard Garden Recognition program can be resurrected in the future.

Garden Fair

Started in 2011 and managed by JRC through 2019, the GROW Jamestown Garden Fair and Home Show grew from 14 vendors to 65 vendors with more than 2000 people attending in this one day event.

This event was created to educate, encourage collaborations and to fundraise.

  • Education: Provide public access to a wide range of workshops, exhibits, lectures, and other media that deliver information about gardening and the role that gardening plays in fostering strong communities.
  • Collaboration: Cultivate relationships and partnerships between gardeners, businesses, organizations, and educators.
  • Fundraising: Create sponsorship opportunities that pay for Garden Week activities, with unused funds going towards funding for gardening projects and other programming throughout the year.


The 2020 GROW Jamestown Garden Fair and Home Show was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic in 2020. The management of this event was transferred to Linnea Carlson, the manager of the Jamestown Public Market, and St. Luke’s in 2021.

Community Gardens

JRC and the Chautauqua County Health Network (CCHN) teamed up with several other partners to reintroduce community gardening to Jamestown. Demonstration gardens, supportive policies, and a network of gardener resources are all part of this effort.

Community gardens have emerged in many cities as a powerful tool to reactivate vacant lots, engage neighbors, and facilitate healthy lifestyles. During the 20th century, Jamestown and other American cities promoted community gardening during World War I (Liberty Gardens), the Great Depression (Relief Gardens) and World War II (Victory Gardens) to augment food supplies. And for decades, the City of Jamestown leased space to gardeners in lots on Jones & Gifford Avenue.

Three community gardens were started in 2012 on vacant lots in the City of Jamestown. The gardens are on privately owned land leased by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation:

  1. Lakeview Avenue Community Garden: 19 raised beds on land owned by Harold Whitford and Brenda Strasser
  2. Washington Street Community Garden: 13 raised beds on land owned by Barbara Johnson

All raised beds are filled with high quality soil and are 12’ long, 4’ wide and 1’ high. Beds could be leased for an annual payment of $20.

Additional community garden sites have been developed (with support from JRC and CCHN) by Jamestown Community College on Curtis Street and by Northside PRIDE at the corner of Grant and E. 8th Streets.


The management of this event was transferred to Linnea Carlson, the manager of the Jamestown Public Market, and St. Luke’s in 2021.

Front Garden Recognition Program

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation’s GROW Jamestown Front Garden Recognition Program, is a way to acknowledge city gardeners who contribute to the curb appeal of Jamestown’s neighborhoods.  It is a project designed to encourage everyone to take part in making Jamestown a more beautiful place.

The program began in 2011 with the distribution of 250 garden signs given to gardeners who were nominated by the public. In the summer of 2018, 12,000 Jamestown front yards were canvassed by a team of volunteers that recognized over 839 front gardens by providing owners with small GROW signs.

  1. The city is divided into 37 sections, with each section encompasses approximately 325 front yards each.
  2. Each section is assigned to a volunteer team comprised of a navigator, a photographer, and a data entry person. The navigator is the driver, the photographer takes photos of the selected front yards, and data entry is assigned as the scribe to document the process and list placement locations of the signs. Volunteers DO NOT canvass their own neighborhoods.  Volunteers DO NOT canvass the same area they surveyed in the previous years.
  3. The volunteers determined what an “average front yard” looks like for their section of the 37 city divisions. Front gardens excelling in their efforts to improve curb appeal, will receive a GROW Jamestown sign. Each team was provided a limited number of signs to distribute – making decisions difficult.
  4. At a minimum, volunteers look for front yard gardens with healthy plants that are well maintained and actively managed. Is the lawn healthy lawn, neatly mowed? Are the shrubs and trees pruned and trimmed? Edging is a plus, along with a balanced garden that is appropriate to house and lot size. House numbers need to be clearly displayed.
  5. While this project stared with the summer gardens, it was pointed out that the spring and fall garden have their own distinct style and should also be reviewed.
  6. The spring season canvassing began the first of June and lasted 3 weeks.
  7. The summer season canvassing began the first of July and lasted 3 weeks.
  8. The fall season canvassing began the first of September and lasted 3 weeks.

    As a project of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation’s Neighborhood Revitalization efforts, the goal is to encourage everyone to contribute to a more beautiful Jamestown. The increase in yearly front yard garden acknowledgements demonstrates how well the program is working.

    It is an excellent way to see the city as you have never seen it before, meet some old friends and make some new ones, and have a chance to make some front yard gardeners very happy.


    This project was very well received. It was a very positive and highly anticipated. There is hope that the Front Yard Garden Recognition program can be resurrected in the future.

    Hands On Jamestown

    Volunteers from all over the region come together each year for this a community-wide effort to clean and beautify the streets of Jamestown through flower planting, litter collection, and other clean up activities.