DETROIT (WXYZ) — The mission of Keep Growing Detroit is to have the majority of fruits and vegetables that are consumed in Detroit produced by Detroiter's,” said Anita Singh.
Anita Singh is the youth programs coordinator with keep growing Detroit- a garden resource program for Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park residents and those planting gardens in the three cities.
“We’re here working in the community, we’re also part of the community. We’re providing plants so that folks can grow some food on their own,” said Singh.
For fifteen bucks a year you're given access to hundreds of different seeds and plants.
“We’ve got everything. A range of summer hot vegetables, we’ve got tomatoes, peppers, we have a lot bunch of different types of greens, kale, collards, we’ve got squash,” said Singh.
This summer sixteen Detroit teens are getting paid to work on the farm.
“So the youth program is really where they get to learn about food sovereignty, food system, they learn about everything from seed to plate,” said Singh.
Their getting down and dirty for this job but it is teaching so much more.
“They’re developing their leadership skills out here. They’re developing some of their resilience, said Singh.
“I was never interested in farming or anything related to it but my mom is, she always has been, she’s always had a garden,” said AnGel Mantel.
Going into her senior year at Cass Tech, Angel Mantel went to the garden with her mom.
When hearing about the opportunity, Mantel applied and was accepted into youth program.
It’s a really good job to have. It teaches you hard work and not giving up on stuff no matter how much you might want to, just keep going,” said Gabriel Pressley.
All of the growers in the program are invited to bring their produce to eastern market to sell so it exposes the teens to more opportunities.
It’s different people from different parts of the city. Different personalities, different work ethics, I think it’s helped me different types of people that I wouldn’t usually talk to,” said Pressley.
Working with farmers and customers coming to the market.
“For me, just sort of signing up to this has taught me how to be independent,” said Pressley.
Fifteen-year-old Gabriel Pressley is home schooled and is truly enjoying the community garden.
“You build that sort of connection that makes like the farm sort of feel like almost a second home,” said Pressley.
Last year the community garden supported over 1600 urban gardens and farms. With experience ranging from master gardeners to first time planters.
Last year alone the gardens and farms helped almost 25,000 residents grow and connect to healthy- pesticide free fresh fruit, vegetable and herbs.
As the garden grows, the teens are thriving.
“It gives me hope that, you know, one day, farms like this will become sort of wide spread and that it can connect people,” said Pressley.
A truly special summer for everyone!
“I’ve met some of the best people in the city,” said Mantel.
“It can bring out this pureness in us to do right with the world,” said Pressley.
If you want to support the garden, head to eastern market and look for the, Grown in Detroit, stand.