Welcome to our blog! Crop Planning, Conference Season and Letter Writing
This is Aldrich Park, located less than one mile from downtown Flint, Michigan. This is the future site for Flint River Farm, the new urban farm addition to Genesee County. Welcome to our blog! Here we plan on writing about just what goes into the planning of an urban farm in a post-industrial city, and what is involved in the implementation and management of this kind of a project.
Aldrich Park is a gorgeous 5+ acre city park formerly farmed by a man named John Freeman. For the past 10 years leaves have been dumped on the site, so currently in some places there are five or so feet of leaf mold; earthy, wormy, sweet smelling composting leaves. We plan on incorporating these, encouraging the composting process and planting a nice summer and then winter cover crop. The park runs along Swartz Creek, one of the 18 creeks and smaller watersheds that make up the Flint River Watershed, that ultimately feed into the Flint River. Check out the Flint River Watershed Coalition for history on the watershed as well as projects designed to protect and preserve it.
Twyla and I came to Flint after graduating from the Michigan State University Organic Farming Certificate Program in Lansing. Before that I was working on the educational urban farm in Brooklyn NY, Added Value and also at the non-profit Eat Well Guide, an organization and website with an extensive free online directory of farms, markets, restaurants, etc. involved in sustainable agriculture. I developed a passion for sustainable agriculture and community development after graduating with a degree in Urban Planning and working on projects exploring environmental injustice and the many benefits of urban agriculture and local food production. It just makes so much sense! Environmental conservation, job creation and economic stimulus, neighborhood revitalization, nutrition education, increased healthy food access and community building, all wrapped into a neat local food systems package.
So here I am, growing to love another community, another city, learning to communicate with new people, farmers, advocates, educators, life-time residents. I'm learning to think like a farmer, like a business-owner, like an active participant in my local government.
We aim to keep our process transparent, our methods sustainable, and our decisions creative.
Come visit us this summer season at Aldrich Park, east of Swartz Creek, underneath the Court Street overpass! I'll be writing on here as often as I can, in between seed orders and crop plans and letters of inquiry, in our little apartment overlooking a snowy Aldrich Park.