Thursday, February 24, 2011

Info and Ranting From Mark

To God Be The Glory. I cannot stress how my faith has grown these past few years. I know God has his hands on this. He has brought people into my life to help me with a vision that I believe he put on my heart. This season I told myself that I would do more writing on the blog to compliment the pictures, and to let everyone know what we are doing/trying to do. Also, to let people get to know me better.
I have been approached a lot by reporters, documentarians, researchers, locally, nationally, and inter-nationally, supposedly wanting to report about Urban Agriculture. I had this saying that I wanted to bring positive attention to our neighborhood, but we seem to always get lumped in with the Detroit ruin porn. Some reporters try their best, it seems to make our neighborhood look deserted and lacking housing stock (as if we just started getting abandoned houses and vacant lots in the last three years). I tell the same story every time, I played football, baseball, manhunt, and kick the can in most of the lots when I was a kid. The garden is on vacant lots that have been empty for 10 to 20 years and the orchard even longer. I don’t want the city turned into farmland. I think there is a place for everything in this 139 square mile city. I would love to see more houses built on the lots in my neighborhood but I think there will always be a need for a community garden, a small orchard and yes even some animals. There are a lot of benefits to it. Access to healthy food is just one. Community building is the greatest reason, having a place for neighbors to get to know each other and hangout on a nice summer night with music or a movie, cooking, harvesting, and sharing. A community garden can increase property values and change the mindset of people young and old for the better even if they don’t help with it. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer, who is a Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She told me that community gardens are also beautification projects that can calm adolescent male bravado just by walking past. We all know every little bit helps . That alone to me is enough reason to plant some fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
We are still looking for ways to raise funds so we can keep going. We have raised some funds but still have a ways to go. We are just about finished with the multi-purpose room (was going to be the store). We decided that space would be better used for our larger events. Thank you to IICD and Wayne State Students and my brothers and friends and family who have helped with this.
I want to thank our many donors who have supported all of our events. There are too many to thank on here but I want to let you know our neighborhood thank you! GSCC would not be able to survive without your efforts to support us. With that being said, we have a ways to go and most likely will never be done. We are trying to pay down the taxes on the community center so we can get it under the tax exempt status.
We have the dates for our major events planned (see for dates) for the year. I want to do a few other things to bring the neighborhood together along with anyone else who wants to join us. I am trying to plan a few movie nights in the park… not the garden. We want to play some older films like Cabin In The Sky….adult and senior type movies for the older crowd. A concert in the Garden and Park. If you know of any bands, singers, poets, who would like to perform for free send them our way.
We have partnered with A.L. Holmes Elementary/Middle School Academy….finally. I have been trying to get in this school for three years. We plan to help the school with indoor and outdoor beautification projects, Mentoring and Tutoring programs, Adding a garden curriculum. Our first order of business is to help raise some funds for 35 eighth graders to go to Chicago for a day in May. The goal is to raise $100 per child. Money is due by April 1st. If you can help you know where to go. ( the donate button if you don’t know write Trip in the comments) I will keep you updated as time goes by.