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Flint, MI—To celebrate the end of the successful growing season, Edible Flint will be hosting a Fall Festival.
Following a tumultuous 2020, 2021 marked a year of growth for Edible Flint. The organization was able to make a comeback thanks to the installation of a new hoop house on their farm as well as an influx of volunteers, some of them master gardeners.
With that support, Edible Flint significantly increased its output compared to last year. As of Sept. 30, the organization has donated 4127 pounds of food to community partners like the Hurley Food Pantry, more than double the 2000 pounds it donated in 2020.
In order to commemorate this growth, Edible Flint is gearing up to host its inaugural Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 9. The festival will take place at the Edible Flint Educational Farm located at 1628 Beach St. There, visitors will be able to participate in giveaways, fall gardening demonstrations and other activities from 12 to 4 p.m.
“This will be a great opportunity for anyone in the community to come out, see the farm, see what we’ve got going on and we’re going to have a lot of different community partners out here who are going to be doing things like pumpkin painting, pumpkin bowling and overall just celebrating fall,” said Kelly McClelland, program director for Edible Flint.
Edible Flint was founded in 2009 on a small patch of land in front of Hurley Hospital no bigger than a one-car garage. In the ensuing 12 years, Edible Flint has grown out of that small garden and settled into a property spanning three city blocks on the southern edge of downtown Flint.
Over the years however, Edible Flint’s goals have remained the same.
“The whole goal of this space is getting people in touch with where food comes from and how to grow it themselves,” McClelland said.
With summer coming to an end, McClelland and Ginny Farah, a long-time volunteer at the farm, reflected on the progress made in 2020.
“We had a lot of expansion this year. We put up a second hoop house, we put up a third garden the same size as the hoop house and volunteer-built boxes to grow strawberries and raspberries in,” Farah said.
McClelland said the organization grew some new of vegetables this year including hot peppers. New foods like these were distributed in April as part of an attempt to bring fresh, culturally relevant foods to the city’s Latinx community.
Looking into 2022, McClelland said Edible Flint’s goal will be to focus more on education. Though she along with the organization’s volunteers want to see the farm continue to grow, the idea of being able to teach others how to do the same in their homes is a significant driving factor.
“As we’re looking toward next year, I think next year we are going to be working on providing more educational opportunities. We’ve had a few field trips this year and a workshop but we want to focus more on hosting classes consistently throughout the season,” McClelland said.
Sue Hendrix, a master gardener and volunteer, was able to work toward her certification by putting in hours at the Edible Flint farm. Having worked with flowers most of her life, Hendrix said applying her knowledge of flowers to working with vegetables was as challenging as it was gratifying.
“I actually brought my experience with flowers here. This is a mixture of flowers and vegetables so I can use my expertise and I don’t feel so lost. To be able to work well with vegetables and see people come here and eat what we grow, it’s very rewarding,” Hendrix said.
For those interested in volunteering, more information can be found at the Edible Flint website.