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It's gardening time in Flint

May 13, 2015

Wednesday was not an ideal day to plant a garden. 

Hundreds of flats with a variety of vegetables were laid out for people to pick up from Edible Flint
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A chilly day with frost in the forecast overnight. 

But hundreds of people in Flint were more than ready to dig in the dirt.

Edible Flint was handing out hundreds of flats with small seedlings and a bag filled with seeds.  

Terry McLean is with the Michigan State University extension.  She says the discounted plants and seeds provide an important boost to gardens in Flint and Genesee County.

“The mission is growing and accessing healthy food in order to reconnect with the land and each other,” says McLean. 

That mission grew in importance earlier this year, after two chain supermarkets closed in Flint. The closings left many Flint residents cut off from fresh vegetables. 

Rebecca Gale Gonzalez keeps a garden in her front yard.

“The Edible Flint program helps me to feed myself and maybe some of my neighbors,” Gonzalez said as she balanced her plants and seeds.

The Edible Flint program doesn’t just provide discount seeds.  The program also assists gardens with soil testing and other training to help with the unique challenges of urban gardening. 

McLean says some gardeners who have gone through the program in the past are now operating commercial gardens, selling produce at local farmers markets.

McLean say the types of vegetables offered though Edible Flint have changed over the years. She says kale and collards are especially popular. Eggplant, not so much.