Green Visions

Employing both localized workforce development and phyto-remediation, the program helps foster healthy community in the JOSANA neighborhood of Rochester, NY.

Green Visions is a two-part community-based program based on a vision for a more vibrant and flourishing Rochester. It is a workforce development program AND phytoremediation project in the City of Rochester’s JOSANA neighborhood. Together with neighbors, we install and cultivate flourishing gardens of flowers on once-vacant and decaying lots.

The flowers from these lots, once in bloom, are harvested, bouqueted and then sold at various locations across the city by the program participants over the entire summer and early fall. In addition to a daily wage, the profits from sales are split evenly between program enrollees. A major goal of the program is to remediate and improve the quality of the soil on our lots, through implementation of sustainable gardening techniques.

Watch our videos to learn more about this exciting program!



The hands-on effort of the participants to improve their community has proven to be a remarkably powerful motivator. Green Visions participants understand that they are making their community a healthier and better place to live and develop great pride in their work. Community-based workforce development initiatives, such as Green Visions fulfill Rochester’s demand for trained and skilled workers prepared to enter the middle-skill professional field. The program proactively combats urban blight, crime, youth unemployment, and poverty. Additionally, our gardens fill vacant lots in the JOSANA neighborhood, and our program recruits and empowers young and able resident young adults to be the agents of change in their community.

A “Boots-on-the-Ground” Program with Life-Altering Outcomes

In Green Visions’ pilot year of 2013, the program graduated and placed 85% of its enrollees into permanent employment or higher education. In the summer of 2014, Green Visions DOUBLED not only it’s capacity, by employing twice as many young adults, but the program also doubled the acreage of city land on which it worked. In 2014 Green Visions provided job training and work experience in the growing “green” industry, for 16 at-risk youth (ages 18-21), in order to increase participants’ chances for future employment and job growth.

The participants have:

  • Completed a part-time, paid work experience and job training program, fifteen hours a week for a total of 22 weeks (longer than many traditional workforce development programs)
  • Received 10 hours of OSHA construction-based training & certification (provided by the City of Rochester)
  • Received 8 hours of EPA Lead Safe Practices training and were designated “Certified Renovators” through this EPA program (provided by the Rochester Housing Council)
  • Graduated from City of Rochester’s PRIME program
  • Received Financial Literacy education from Advantage Federal Credit Union
  • Bank account creation and instruction through Advantage Federal Credit Union
  • Received Organic Waste Management training from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Through additional partners, modules, and hands-on, real-world experience, participants also received: small business implementation training and experience running a small business (flower selling), basic horticulture and landscaping training, hand-tool training, social media training, community outreach experience

The instructional programs are provided through community partnerships with the City of Rochester, the Housing Council, Charles Settlement House, Advantage Federal Credit Union, DEC, and the EPA. Green Visions educates participants to understand potential environmental threats in their own neighborhoods and equips participants to improve their community. We can’t wait for spring to get started all over again. Stay tuned for updates!