Parks and Garden Club calls for volunteers for community farm

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 19, 2015

 Donna Washington, of Southfield, prepares her back porch June 22 for the annual Garden Walk in the Riverbank neighborhood. The event is sponsored by the Parks and Garden Club, and is meant to promote curb appeal and beautification in the city.

Donna Washington, of Southfield, prepares her back porch June 22 for the annual Garden Walk in the Riverbank neighborhood. The event is sponsored by the Parks and Garden Club, and is meant to promote curb appeal and beautification in the city.

File photo by Sean Work

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SOUTHFIELD — Sure, metro Detroit is in a cold snap, but the organizers of the Southfield Parks and Garden Club say that’s no reason not to think spring.

Gearing up for their 10th year of green thumb gathering, club members are looking for volunteers to help with their community farm, located behind Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 23425 Lahser Road.

According to Jon Adams, president of the Parks and Garden Club, the community farm was started in 2008 after Adams had the idea to put a community garden on city land. Members of the church saw an article about the idea in the paper, and the rest is history.

“The ladies in the steering committee for the church saw the article in the paper, and they said, ‘We have this space, you’ve got the idea, let’s get together and make it happen,’” Adams said.

The club leases the one-acre plot of land behind the church and grows tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, radishes, turnips, onions, beets, carrots, corn, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries all organically, and all to benefit Forgotten Harvest.

Last year, the club grew 2,600 pounds of food for the hungry, Adams said.

Adams said the club is looking for any able-bodied volunteers to help with the community garden this year. Volunteers do not need to be members of the club or members of the church, and they don’t need to have any experience with gardening or planting.

“We’ll tell them how to go about doing what we’d like them to do,” Adams said. “We have gloves, tools; just dress appropriately to the weather. It really is a lot of fun because people feel good about growing things to feed the hungry and everybody is always upbeat. It’s not a religious exercise at all. All kinds of religions help us out.”

However, there are two topics Adams said are not allowed to be discussed at the farm.

“The only thing I don’t like to talk about at the farm is politics and religion. We can talk about the weather, what’s going on at home,  but we don’t like to get into arguments,” Adams said.

Volunteers will gather at the farm from 1-3 p.m. Sundays and from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays beginning March 29.
Adams said that usually the weather doesn’t hinder planting plans.

“The only time we don’t really work is if it’s thundering out,” Adams said. “Other than that, if it’s just dripping, we’ll work in the rain. If it’s cold, we bundle up and we don’t work as long.”

Another facet of the club is the organization of the annual Garden Walk, which showcases homeowners’ yards and gardens in a different Southfield neighborhood each year. Last year, the walk was held in the Riverbank neighborhood on June 22.

“We pick a different neighborhood each year and show the homes to encourage curb appeal for neighborhood beautification to recognize people who go above and beyond in making their yards attractive,” said Councilman Ken Siver, a member of the club.

The club also volunteers cleaning up the yards of limited-income seniors and disabled people.

“It’s not typical. A lot of garden clubs, they sit down and have tea and they talk about primroses and adelias. Ours is a working club,” Siver said.

To sign up to volunteer or for more information, contact Jon Adams at (248) 356-2281.

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