First Step-Land

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     It wasn’t hard to track down who owned the land. The Genesee County Land Bank did. It was, however quite a journey securing the four lots. After downloading and mailing in my plans and the money for the land, they rejected my application, but they were willing to lease the land to me. When this process was complete, it was too late in the summer season to think about doing any work to the land. Therefore, nothing was done for almost ten months, and during that time, you can guess what occurred. More weeds and other vegetation grew out of control, which meant a lot of hard work to get the first lot together for spring planting.

I already had ties to Michigan State University Extension Edible Flint, so I took advantage of the welcomed inexpensive services for titling the ground, importing organic compost, and their starter kits, which offered an assortment of seedlings and organic seeds.

 After the titling was complete, which occurred the very last day of May therefore I was not happy about that because spring had come early, I enlisted my children to help remove all the large rocks and large chunks of cements left behind from the remover of the blight houses that were previously there. Instead of discarding these items, I used them to create a border around the first plot. To my surprise, it was far larger then I realized. 

We immediately transplanted the veggies we received from Edible Flint in the rich organic compost, added organic bone meal, and Epsom salt. One of the major challenge of farming in this spot was there was no running water. I purchased 5-35 gallon rain barrels and collected water from the gutter downspouts at my house. Throughout the growing season, this was the only water used on the plants. 

In my next post, I will share some of the learning lessons I had, and share the progress of the farm our first season.

No longer Just A Thought!

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A few years ago, on my way to work I noticed this half block of open land. Something about it drew me to it. It’s located on the boundaries of the north end of Flint, an area that has many pockets of open spaces where the city has removed the blighted homes, but the arear is still populated by many long-terms residents.

This open space is only a block away from a major highway [I-475], and across the street from a mega church, New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist.

As I stared at it, all kinds of possibilities formed in my mind of what could be created there, but what stood out was a place where the residents could gather-build a thriving and healthy community.

The ideal of an urban farm came to mind, but not only a place where produces could grow organically, but where children could play while learning about growing healthy vegetables and fruits. A place where seniors and other adults could relax in the shade, instruct, and share their wisdom . . . A place where people can get back to being a purpose driven community. This is the start of Urban H2O Foods® – Health Farms-One.