food

2018 Annual Report!

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YOUTH EMPOWERMENT PROJECT - YEP
YEP mentored 175 elementary students - YEP’s pioneered the first ever Rotaract at Muskegon High School!

13 of the 17 YEP graduates of 2018 are now in college -16 YEP’s participated in a tour of 4 colleges  - 45 YEP’s were trained and employed last summer earning a total of $65,000 for 7,000 hrs of work. YEP’s were trained in Photo Voice, rehabbing homes, urban farming, lawn maintenance and camp leadership.

READING BUDDIES
33 volunteers served 70 K-6 sstudents from Nelson Elementary School 35 hours a week

“Reading Buddies is a powerful program!  Every child that worked with reading buddies this year made over their yearly growth.  As a teacher it is so helpful to have other adults to sit and read one on one with my kids.  There is just no substitute for that. We greatly appreciate our Reading Buddies!” -Muskegon Public School Elementary Teacher.


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BETHANY HOUSING
68 working wage families/individuals rented affordable homes or apartments and contributed to community life as neighbors.

HOMELESS SERVICES
1,482 households representing 4,770 neighbors experiencing evictions or homelessness received housing assessments and information to resolve their housing crisis - 559 neighbors experiencing homelessness or evictions were connected with a Housing Navigator to stabilize their housing crisis - $175,000 invested in short-term leasing assistance for to prevent or end homelessness.

HOUSING PLUS
13 neighbors transitioned from homelessness into supportive, affordable housing - 111 formerly homeless neighbors (including 45 children) continued to participate in ongoing services.

SENIOR MILLAGE
$110,000 invested in 21 homes across Muskegon and Muskegon Heights - That means new roofs, plumbing, windows, furnaces, water heaters, steps, flooring, and landscaping to help out seniors age in place.


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MUSKEGON PRESCRIBES FOOD FOR HEALTH - MPFH
46 neighbors graduated from MPFH in 2018, investing 12 hours in food education classes, learning to cook with fresh produce from McGrows, helping patients achieve their medical, nutritional, and social goals.

MCLAUGHLIN GROWS URBAN FARM
Grew & distributed 7,000 lbs. of food -and developed a third farm site, ready for 2019 production. Employed & trained 6 high school youth farmers who mentored 600 younger youth at the farm - Engaged over 450  volunteers.

McGrows provided over 120 moments of opportunity for our community to interact with, learn about, and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm, including the Farmers Market, Senior Power of Produce markets, on-site farm stands, Community Supported Agriculture programming, and McLaughlin Grows “Food to Pantry” donations.


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DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS STORE
104 neighborhood families shopped for 283 children - 36 neighbors volunteered - Received $5,800 in gift and donations from YOU!

SACRED SUDS
2,693 Neighbors visited Sacred Suds  9,795 times - “Broke bread” together over 3,865 lunches - Washed 4,054 loads of laundry - 1,494 showers - Completed 164 income tax returns (assisted by 2 rock-star volunteers, who brought back almost $140K into core city neighborhoods) - 166 neighbors volunteered over 4,600 hrs.

URBAN IMMERSION
10 women from Muskegon County Jail served at Community enCompass to reduce their time and learn new skills (2 gained employment with Community enCompass after graduating!) - 400 volunteers from local and national faith-based organizations, contributed over 90,000 hours rehabbing and beautifying core-city neighborhoods!


2018 FINANCES

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What’s New Under The Sun?

What’s New Under The Sun?

We are proud to announce through a partnership with AvaSure, a health care company, our 3rd farm site is being developed. A new 13,000 square foot farm will be ready for production come next spring at 1161 W. Southern avenue in Muskegon, on the former site of Nims School grounds.  “As a community-based entity, we will align with, support & grow established & sustained community-based organizations that inspire four values

HEALTH and POVERTY in Muskegon

HEALTH and POVERTY in Muskegon

15% of Muskegon County residents have a certified disability, 25% higher than the national average. 41% of Muskegon county residents live at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty level,  22%* higher than national average. These numbers alone are sobering, so this month we are taking the opportunity to educate ourselves about the links between poverty and health, health and poverty.

Get your CSA today!

Get your CSA today!

Despite the heavy snow, spring always comes early at Community enCompass bringing with it the promise of opportunity. The opportunity to bring our fresh organic produce to more of our core city Muskegon neighbors. The opportunity to engage children and families in our learning garden. And the opportunity to help more people transform their lives through our farm-based job training program for core city youth. 

Muskegon Prescribes Food for Health!

When the last grocery store moved out of the downtown area of Muskegon, we were left with a “food desert,” a low-income area, that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food. Many neighbors in the core city neighborhoods are without transportation, so access to fresh fruit and vegetables is difficult.  The result of this has been an increase of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, fueled by the mix of unhealthy food and lack of exercise. Through efforts of groups like McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm and the Muskegon Farmers Market (open 3 times a week through the summer months), affordable, healthy, fresh produce is becoming more available to the community.

McLaughlin Grows’ “Community Supported Agriculture“ (CSA) For All Ages

Buying a CSA from McLaughlin Grows, your neighborhood urban farm, goes much deeper than just eating the freshest food available. There is the most obvious aspect of CSA membership:

The farm’s produce is grown clean, using organic practices and no harmful chemicals. We fertilize with locally produced compost (much from our own compost bins) and treat for pests with either soapy water, natural oils, natural predators, or by hand picking pests. Weeds are pulled by hand or hoe. No pesticides, herbicides or growth enhancers will ever be used at McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm, so your family receives the safest produce available.

But there is so much more that you support by participating in McLaughlin Grows CSA program:

McLaughlin Grows employs local youth throughout the growing season. High-school students participating in the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) have the option of working on the farm, learning leadership skills, cooperation, patience, and earning practical work experience. By working on the farm, these youth learn the very basics of self-sufficiency…how to grow their own food.

McLaughlin Grows employs college-aged students as interns. They not only hone existing skills, but learn management and organizational techniques too,  as they work with every aspect of farm operations.

The farm also helps middle school students in summer school who are in danger of not passing to the next grade level. Through “Growing Goods,” middle-schoolers learn about eating healthy, gain knowledge about growing their own food and build self-confidence and self-esteem. They also learn first-hand that they can make amazing things happen when working together as a team.

We are growing educational programs at McLaughlin Grows too! Preschoolers, elementary school-aged students, middle-schoolers, and high-schoolers come to the farm on field trips and for community service projects to learn about what it takes to put food on their tables. Programs are being developed so that teachers can find farm-based lessons in a variety of subjects such as math, history, language arts, art, and the sciences that help teach their classes about farming and growing food using these different venues. It is a wonderful way to bring students onto the farm and the farm into the classroom!

Special needs students come to the farm regularly to learn practical life skills, how to grow food, and to gain hands-on work experience through everyday activities. These young adults are given the opportunity to grow and stretch their abilities beyond what can be done inside the four walls of a classroom. We are also developing programs to bring senior citizens and youth together. Having multi-generational activities where those with experience guide their young neighbors through the steps of sowing seed, growing and caring for plants creates bridges of understanding and fosters a greater sense of responsibility for each other.

All of these things and more are what purchasing a CSA share through McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm supports. Neighbors coming together, children learning where food comes from, elders passing skills on to their littlest neighbors, people learning to eat and live healthier and happier, and so much more! We are one community…growing healthier, growing stronger, and growing together!

McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm is currently hiring interns. If you want to get involved in community farming check out the oportunities HERE

Stay up to date on all the farm activities on FACEBOOK

The Early Bird Gets the ... CSA?

The Early Bird Gets the Worm!

...or in this case, a GREAT deal on Community Supported Agriculture shares!

CSA shares allow people to purchase a season’s worth of produce in the spring. They then pick up fresh, locally grown produce each week that is harvested and rinsed just for them! To be certain, buying a CSA share from any organization is a guarantee that your family will be eating the freshest food available. But it goes much deeper than this, especially when buying from your neighborhood urban farm, McLaughlin Grows. By purchasing a McGrows CSA share, you will be supporting programs that employ our local youth, promote healthy eating and teach our community how to grow their own food, support education for young and old, and bring access to fresh food into the neighborhoods where there are no grocery stores.

The farm’s produce is grown clean, using organic practices. We fertilize with locally produced compost (much from out of our own compost bins) and treat for pests with soapy water, natural oils, or hand picking. Weeds are pulled by hand or hoe. Nothing unnatural will ever be used at McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm, so your family receives the safest produce available. And all produce in your CSA share is grown at the farm. There is no doubt where this food is coming from…you know the place it is grown AND who grows it!

But wait…there’s more! If you purchase your CSA before March 1st, you will receive a special EARLY BIRD rate! There are several different CSA options…follow this link for more information and to find the perfect McGrows CSA for your family.

If you would like to become more involved with the farm, watch for volunteer days to be posted on our Facebook page. McGrows also has many internship opportunities available; descriptions can be found here. 

All of these things and more are what purchasing a CSA share through McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm supports. Neighbors coming together, children learning where their food comes from, elders passing skills on to their littlest neighbors, people learning to eat and live healthier and happier, and so much more! We are one community…growing healthier, growing stronger, and growing together!

Under the big plastic hoop

Changing seasons are shifting the focus at McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm. The atmosphere from March well into October centers on growing, growing…..and more growing. But late in autumn, the focus moves towards “putting the farm to bed.” Those working with McGrows are pulling the spent plants from the fields, removing the trellises to make room for tilling, pulling up plastic to fertilize for next years’ produce, spreading wood chips and mulch to build new soil. It is time to prepare for the hard, killing frosts….the first blanket of snow.

But something very special is happening INSIDE the hoop house on the Hackley farm site. New seeds are sprouting and transplanted greens are finding their second wind under the plastic at McLaughlin Grows! The sunny days of winter will allow the air in the hoop house to become much warmer than the outside, sometimes pushing temperatures well into the sixties. This warms the soil, which allows the greens and herbs to flourish, allowing the farm to bring fresh, clean produce to the farmers’ market during the coldest days of the year. Even when the nighttime air temperatures dip well below freezing, the warmth of the soil under the plastic dome keeps the plants comfortable enough to continue producing food for the community.  

                               
McLaughlin Grows is looking to grow BIGGER! The hoop house has enabled us to produce food year round, but with the help of a generous donor, we have an opportunity to build a green house that will allow us to control every piece of the growing process, from seed to plant. Because of this donor, every one of your dollars will be matched, $1 for $1 up to $5,000 towards the green house build. Be part of the local food systems change that is happening in Muskegon, feeding our core city neighborhoods, from the inside out

Soon the call will be going out for volunteers to come and help tuck in McLaughlin Grows for the winter. But don’t think this little farm will be going to sleep completely. Under that big plastic hoop on Mercy’s Hackley campus, there will be an amazing amount of activity. The spent warm weather plants of this past growing season will be giving up their space to an abundance of cool crop greens and herbs. The farm may be settling down for the season, but it will continue to grow food for our friends and neighbors even as the snows pile up outside the gates!


 

 

McLaughlin Grows CSA: It's worth every penny

You love fresh vegetables in your cooking, right?  Even better if they are grown organically?  And even better if they are grown locally? 

Laurie Wieschowski the farm manager, helps a CSA participant choose their weekly organic veggies at the Mercy Hospital Hackley Campus farm site.

What if you could get all of these things---- fresh, organic veggies that were grown right here in the neighborhood, in Muskegon's first urban farm and hoop house---weekly AND on top of that you knew that buying these vegetables was employing core city youth that were learning job skills while they were farming?

You wouldn't be able to say no, right?  ;-)
 

Check out our McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program (you can actually order right on line).  Just think how you could brag to your dinner guests about how your dishes are not only delectable, not only environmentally sound, but also socially responsible!  Triple bottom line, right there.  

McLaughlin Grows CSA's: It's worth every penny.

Neighbors in the Kitchen at Kitchen 242

McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm is coming to Kitchen 242 and inviting YOU to come along! From incorporating super foods into your smoothies to learning new ways of using and preserving what you harvest, join friends and neighbors in Kitchen 242….it’s a great way to relax and share ideas! These classes make great gifts, too!!!

For more info on these classes, registration and payment options, please click here

 

McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm Announces Internship Positions

McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm is announcing it has two internship positions available in the coming year. 

Fore more general info about McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm, click here

A brief description of the farm site internship: 

Farm work will be done under the direction of the Farm Manager. Workdays may involve traveling to multiple sites and repetitive tasks. An ideal candidate will come to work well-prepared, and be interested in actively engaging with our team, farm sites, and greater city around us. We are looking for farm interns that will aid in all aspects of everyday farm field operation, including: hoop house work, planting and' transplanting, weeding, harvesting, watering, preparing for markets, CSA distribution, attending the city farmer’s market, pest control, mulch and compost application, and a variety of other tasks as the season progresses. We are excited by the prospect of working with someone who has interest in shaping the long term direction of our farm.

For more information about the farm site internship, and to learn how to apply, click here.

A brief description of farm education coordinator internship:

We are looking for interns that will aid in all aspects of the farm’s educational programs. McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm partners with Muskegon Public Schools on various programs intended to expose youth of all ages to gardening skills. The farm also hosts special needs students from Pioneer Resources’ “Food for Thoughts” program. During the summer, youth groups of all ages and from multiple organizations will attend the farm during their individual programs. Assistance with these opportunities will be a part of the intern’s responsibilities, as well as assisting the farm education coordinator in the office and at education sites as needed. Additional duties may include assisting with the Muskegon Farmer’s Market and CSA program on the farm, as needed. We are excited by the prospect of working with someone who has interest in shaping the long term direction of our farm.

For more information about the farm education coordinator internship, and to learn how to apply, click here