US (OH): Urban farm helps returning citizens flourish

Between recovery housing for returning citizens in Youngstown and a job training center for welding sits a green oasis – GROW Urban Farm.

GROW stands for Gaining Real Opportunities for Work – appropriate for a place started a decade ago by Flying High as a way to help returning citizens – those re-entering society after incarceration – rebuild their lives, stop negative cycles, and join the workforce.

“They know that their lives are being used for something productive, not things that are destructive,” says Jeff Magada, executive director of Flying High. “It’s peaceful out here, like an urban oasis.”

What was once an asphalt parking lot behind the Ohio Valley Teen Challenge on Florencedale Avenue is now home to a greenhouse with rows of tomatoes, beans, and peppers.


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