Keep Growing Detroit’s Fall Educational Series in the D

By: Toni Cunningham | October 8, 2014
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While many of you are likely scouring local hardware stores in search of fertilizer to winterize your gardens, it’s not entirely time to wrap things up until next spring.

Mid to late fall isn’t exactly the best time to be harvesting new plants in your backyard, but it certainly is the time to gain the knowledge that will allow your garden to flourish next year. Thanks to Keep Growing Detroit, an organization that aims to promote “a food sovereign Detroit,” you can do just that.

Keep Growing Detroit, or KGD, hopes to help Metro Detroiters create healthy relationships with food, beginning with controlling where our food comes from. That means gardening over fast food and digging in the soil over processed meals. In order to develop these skills, Keep Growing Detroit offers the Detroit Urban Garden Education Series, which provides everything you need to know on topics ranging from cooking to basic gardening to farm planning. The series was developed in 2003, and since then, Detroiters have devoted nearly 100,000 hours to learning how to create a more food sovereign city.

The fall education series begins this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 11 with Grant Writing with Ashley Atkinson, co-director of Keep Growing Detroit. Held at the MSU Detroit Center, 3408 Woodward Ave., Detroit, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the workshop will focus on grants and funding opportunities for community based projects, such as community gardens. Atkinson will teach participants how to plan, create a budget, find grants and put together a proposal.

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(Photo courtesy of Ashley Atkinson)

(Photo courtesy of Ashley Atkinson)

These classes help Metro Detroiters “cultivate Detroit” by teaching participants how to build a wide range of skills from sustainable agriculture methods to cooking to food preservation, according to Atkinson.

“They also help to maximize the resources that are available and (productive) in gardens, provide leadership development opportunities for new instructors from the community, and create opportunities for people to meet and get to know their neighbors,” she said.

Practical Permaculture will follow on Saturday, Oct. 18, as well as Food as Medicine: Delicious Dishes for Health with Chef Meiko Krishok on Monday, Oct. 27. On average, attendance for each class falls around 22 participants.

Winterizing the Farm will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Plum Street Market Garden, 2202 Third St., Detroit. This special hands-on workshop is part of the once a month “Working Lessons” series, and gives those who participate the opportunity to really put what they are learning into practice.

For those of you interested in growing your own food and learning how to live the healthiest lifestyle possible, you’ll be interested in Nutrition Basics: Knowledge is Healthy. The class is being offered at New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 2201 Elmhurst St., Detroit, on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn how different foods affect our bodies, why vegetables are so important and why refined sugars are bad. Overall, the workshop will give participants a more positive and healthy approach to eating.

(Photo courtesy of Ashley Atkinson)

(Photo courtesy of Ashley Atkinson)

Food is at the center of health, family, culture and life, and that is why Atkinson thinks the classes KGD offers are so advantageous to Metro Detroiters.

“Not only do gardeners have greater access to fruits and vegetables, they eat more fruits and vegetables and get more physical activity than non-gardeners,” Atkinson said.

While living a healthy lifestyle is of utmost importance, it’s also vital to live a little. You can still indulge in the holiday season without the remorse, and Seasonal Treats: Tasty (Healthy) Desserts is a class that will teach you how to do just that. This particular workshop will be held at St. Matthew’s & St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, 8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, on Monday, Dec. 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

All Education Series classes cost $3 for Garden Resource Program members and $5 for non-members. For more information on Keep Growing Detroit, visit the official website, or call 313-757-2635 to sign up for any of the aforementioned classes.