I am so happy that 2016 is coming to an end. I have been looking through gardening books and collecting information for my 2017 garden. I know it may not be everyone’s aspiration to grow their own food but I enjoy it. Even if I do not complete all of my goals, I love creating lists and information about growing my own food.
So with that being said, I am going to share some information that I received about gardening so that you can also read about the wonderful ways we are striving to feed ourselves. Read the article below:
Garden Project and Lansing Roots Enjoy Bountiful Season A Year-End Retrospective
The 2016 growing season was a bountiful one for Garden Project and Lansing Roots. If gardeners and farmers were able to keep up with the watering required during this hot, dry summer, they were rewarded with bountiful harvests: tomatoes and summer squash in excess, prolific eggplants and peppers.
Over the last 33 years, Garden Project has gone through many seasons of growth and transition, and 2016 was no exception. After all, if there is one thing that can be counted on in life, it is change! But over time, we have found that our willingness to adapt has not only made us resilient as a program, it has helped Garden Project remain relevant in the lives of our neighbors and friends.
Garden Project is always looking to find balance between growth and expansion, while still honoring the traditions and commitments that have been cornerstones of our work. Here is a glimpse of what that looked like in 2016:
We were able to work with diverse community groups and introduce a new half-acre Hill Community Garden. Twenty-five Burmese and Nepali families gardened at Hill Garden this year, growing everything from greens and eggplant to roselle and corn.
Over the summer, the Roots farm hosted more than 10 farm market booths, spread out over the greater Lansing area. Winter squash and peppers were especially popular. These farm stand sales, along with CSA shares, provided new income to beginning farmers growing in the Roots Program. We are extremely fortunate to have a staff that is not only so capable in their work but genuine in their desire to serve their community and make a difference in others’ lives.
The highlight of 2016 was our inaugural growing season at the Hill Center. After renovating a greenhouse on site, Garden Project and Roots now have the capacity to grow our own vegetable plant starts for gardeners and farmers. Through the collective effort of GLFB program staff and interns, as well as our colleagues at South Lansing Community Development Association, we were able to grow more than 20,000 plant starts that were distributed to low-income home and community gardeners and to Lansing Roots incubator farmers.
Collaborations and deep community ties have been vital in allowing Garden Project to strategically expand and offer services that are gardener and grower driven. It was gardeners who asked for an expansion of vegetable plant varieties that would be reflective of the foods their children wanted to eat and were also mainstays in their traditional diets. They also asked for seedlings that would come earlier in the season, allowing them to plant early in spring and extend their harvest. One of our gardeners said it best: “I appreciate the support and provision of seeds and seedlings, which happen to be very expensive at the stores. I like meeting fellow gardeners and having chats with them. Fresh vegetables and fruits are something I will always cherish, especially the chance to grow my own traditional vegetables.”
Garden Project’s longevity and success would not be possible without dedicated staff, volunteers and gardeners. So we thank our community, because by planting the seeds of self-sufficiency today, the Garden Project is able to help families provide for themselves tomorrow.
Check out the GLFB Facebook page for the year's retrospective in photos!
For more information, call (517) 853-7809 or visit us on-site at our administrative offices located at 919 Filley Street, Lansing MI 48906.
This was printed in the December 25, 2016 - January 7, 2017 edition.