Grosse Pointe Woods Mom Helps Kids Flourish in the Garden

A metro Detroit mom is teaching kids about gardening with music and community gardening initiatives.

Helping kids grow typically means guiding them into becoming full-fledged, successful adults, but for Danielle Carlomusto, the phrase takes on a more literal interpretation. 

The Grosse Pointe Woods mom is introducing kids to gardening through her free and accessible multimedia endeavor, Gro-Town. Through her albums, music videos and free seed stations, she hopes to provide an avenue for other families to participate in the world around them. 

Photo credit: Gro-Town

“Gro-Town started as a music project inspired by my own children,” Carlomusto said. “It came out of seeing their own connections out in the garden and trying to honor those small moments in a media landscape that rewards bigness.” 

“We take time in delighting in the warmth of a tomato fresh off the vine or taking note of the wind,” she said. “We try to instill that at home, in my own kids.” 

As a lifelong musician with classical training, Carlomusto’s avenue for connecting came through music. Her songs are expertly put together but fun and silly — kids love songs like “Snap Peas” and “Hey, You Tried” (although her 7-year-old twins’ favorite is “Little Brown Dog.”) 

“They’ve become objective supporters with their own little tastes,” she said.

Photo credit: Gro-Town

Growing up, Carlomusto was exposed to classical music from her Italian-born father and pop music from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s from her mother. She played in the Livonia Youth Symphony as a child then moved to Nashvillle to play music in her twenties. 

“I have to thank my parents for being such champions of the music they loved,” Carlomusto said. 

When she moved back to metro Detroit, she had an arsenal of experience and a drive to make music that would matter to her young kids. 

“I absolutely get inspiration from them,” she said. “Children are born connected to the world around them — that small and simple world around us — and these things inspire the Gro-Town ethos to this day.”

Although the Gro-Town albums sound like they were made by a team of professionals, the vast majority of them have been made by Carlomusto alone in her home studio. 

“I had a small studio in our basement, so between snack times and nap times I would make music,” she said. “Now, when they go to bed, I have a nice cheap glass of pinot grigio and go downstairs.” 

Photo credit: Gro-Town

Gro-Town offers more than fun songs. There’s free coloring pages and a gardening journal for little ones, plus Carlomusto worked to get donations to offer “seed stations” in local libraries and outside her own house. 

She says the response from local garden supply stores has been overwhelmingly positive; once they hear what Gro-Town is all about, people have been excited to get involved and donate. 

“It is all about connection, community and belonging,” Carlmusto said. “I love to see seeds get in between the little green thumbs of our next generation of growers.” 

Carlomusto hopes that by giving away free seeds, kids will get the chance to help something grow all on their own.

“Once when I was teaching kids about the lettuce growing process, I ate a leaf directly from the plant and they were amazed by that, and I realized there’s a real disconnect here,” she said. “We live in one of the most agriculturally progressive places in the nation, but how are we incorporating kids into that?” 

“I want to create a sense of ownership and autonomy for these kids,” she said. “It’s part of the Gro-Town mission to spread that message — whether it’s growing on a balcony or a plot of land, it’s you growing those things.”


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Amanda Rahn
Amanda Rahn
Amanda Rahn is a freelance journalist, copy editor and proud Detroiter. She is a graduate of Wayne State University’s journalism school and of the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University. Amanda is a lover of translated contemporary fiction, wines from Jura and her dog, Lottie.

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