Growing kindness across Ohio

Growing kindness across Ohio
Urban October event spread the benefits of plants and kindness
Students, faculty and staff planted succulents, keeping one for themselves and sharing another as an act of kindness. Photo: Ken Chamberlain
Students, faculty and staff planted succulents, keeping one for themselves and sharing another as an act of kindness. Photo: Ken Chamberlain

By Tracy Turner

COLUMBUS, Ohio–Some 10,000 plants were planted and given away during the Grow Kindness Event Oct. 17 as part of an effort to spread the benefits of plants and kindness throughout The Ohio State University community.

The event was part of “Urban October,” a worldwide campaign the United Nations launched to focus on the opportunities and challenges created by the fast rate of change in cities. The theme of Ohio’s campaign this year was “Celebrating Kindness in Ohio Communities – Where We Live, Work, Play, Learn & Serve.”

As part of the campaign, Ohio State students, staff, faculty, alumni, volunteers, and families planted two succulents–one for themselves and one to give to a friend, to encourage acts of kindness in the community.

On the Columbus campus, the plants were given away at three locations: Traditions at Scott,

University Square at 15th and High streets and at the Wexner Medical Center Herrick Transit hub, said Julie Fox, director of strategic initiatives and urban engagement for Ohio State University Extension.

“The project was also expanded beyond the Columbus campus to include six statewide campus locations, where OSU Extension teams in Ohio’s metropolitan areas brought the Grow Kindness project to their communities as part of the Urban October celebration of kindness in our communities – where we live, work, play, learn, and serve,” she said.

2023_CFAES_Grow Kindness

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“The succulent plant kits were provided to Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, and Butler/Hamilton counties for those urban OSU Extension teams to share with community members. The goal was to share kindness as well as the awareness of OSU Extension in urban communities,” Fox said. “Events included a Youth Summit and intergenerational program in Cuyahoga County, a senior program in Lucas County, Adventure Central in Montgomery County, and a commissioner partnership in Mahoning County.

“We want to give a special thank you to the Ohio State University Office of Student Life, ScottsMiracle-Gro,  and Altman Plants for the generous donation of soil, succulents, and event support.”

The idea to give away the succulents because plants make people happy, said Pam Bennett, state master gardener volunteer program director and horticulture educator with OSU Extension. The Master Gardener Volunteer program is a U.S.- and Canada-wide effort that in Ohio is run by OSU Extension