Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.
Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more
The area surrounding Growing Hope’s greenhouse was covered in blankets of white snow.
It seems like it should be impossible for anything to grow in Michigan in February, but there it stands; a whole greenhouse with rows of freshly grown herbs in the coldest month in winter.
Growing Hope’s Seed Starting Squad is using the greenhouse to teach the community how to grow their own gardens four seed flats at a time.
Last year was the Seed Starting Squad’s first year; they had no idea the program would be so popular, according to Growing Hope volunteer Liz Etim.
“People seemed to be pouring in,” Etim said. “They wanted to help out in whatever way they could.”
Etim, who was a volunteer last year, said Growing Hope did not anticipate the community’s desire to learn gardening skills. The demand caught the staff off guard.
“Whether they were like myself on the sidelines, or actually wanting to grow things, there was just a large number of people coming through,” Etim said.
It may have been the opportunity to learn the skills to grow herbs and vegetables for themselves and Growing Hope indoors even in the harshest winters.
“I was amazed when I came in here,” Etim said. “It was cold and there was snow all over the place.”
Snow may stop some gardens from growing, but not Growing Hope’s indoor garden.
Etim said it was hard to believe when she saw the greenhouse that the Growing Hope staff could get anything to grow in such harsh winter conditions. She said it is probably part of the reason that the Seed Starting Squad is popular.
Growing Hope lets their growers borrow or buy the light stands for the seed flats. The A-frame stands are designed to hold two 4-foot shop lamps, which give the seeds the light they need to grow.
According to Growing Hope’s Web site, participants agree to grow two flats for Growing Hope and two for themselves. Once the seedlings begin to grow the participants bring them back to Growing Hope to be replanted so they can finish growing.
The seedlings which are grown for Growing Hope are distributed for free to low-income families and also sold at their spring fundraiser. The Seed Starting Squad helps needy families get nutritious food and it also teaches community members gardening skills that they will have with them for a lifetime.
But what about the cold weather conditions in the greenhouse?
“As the day progresses in here it warms up,” Etim said.
The next workday for the Seed Starting Squad is March 20. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is required. For more information contact Growing Hope at email@example.com.
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