Urban Garden Opens At Downtown Y
The YMCA of Greater Flint recently completed an urban learning garden in the courtyard of the Downtown Facility at 411 E Third St, Flint MI. The garden serves as a learning garden for the Y’s free after school program, Safe Places. The garden was funded through a grant for Before and After School Physical Activity & Healthy Eating and is part of the Michigan Health and Wellness 4X4 Plan and is funded through The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Chronic Disease & Injury Control, Cardiovascular Health, Nutrition & Physical Activity Section.
“The learning and exchange that we have going on in the garden, is really quite magical,” said Shelly MacArthur, Director of Safe Places. “The youth love taking care of the garden, working in the dirt to plant and water their fruits and vegetables and of course eagerly awaiting to eat the first harvest of tomatoes, beans, peas and more!” Designed with assistance from the Horticulture Department of Applewood, the garden uses pots and raised beds to grow the fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Multiple varieties of plants like tomatoes, peppers, beans and potatoes will give youth a chance to taste and experience not only fresh produce but discover the unique flavors in different varieties of plants.
“We tried to find unique plants like blue potatoes, yellow tomatoes, and purple peppers, unconventional things that the students might not normally encounter. It makes the whole experience more engaging to the youth,” said MacArthur. Another benefit is to the members of the Y who have enjoyed spending time in the garden, relaxing, drinking coffee with friends and participating in the occasional yoga class.
If you are interested in helping to support either the urban learning garden at the Downtown Branch or the free after-school program Safe Places please contact Director of Fundraising and Public Relations Pam Bailey.