Greenhouse and Raised Bed Crop Production with Organic Farm Practices with Fruit and Vegetable Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:


  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Fruits: melons, berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: beans, greens (leafy), peppers, cucurbits, tomatoes, turnips


  • Crop Production: multiple cropping, ridge tillage
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, public participation, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, community services, social capital, social networks, social psychological indicators, quality of life

    Proposal summary:

    PROBLEM The project is intended to teach both youth and seniors of the community how to produce healthy food items. It will also get the youth and the seniors of the community interacting with each other. The problem in our community is the youth and seniors citizens don’t interact and this would be a great way to foster interaction between both groups. The optimal growing season/period in lower Southeastern MI, is between late April and late September depending on the crop chosen. However if seedlings are started in a heated greenhouse using a compost made over the summer and fall, then transplanted into the greenhouse, the season of production and consumption is almost doubled. I have already talked to people of the community, and my church to see if there was an interest in this and the overwhelming response was: yes, yes, yes, how do we get started. Mr. Al Norwood, of the U.S.D.A. in Monroe gave a workshop in our community about growing Organic produce and it was well received. The kids and seniors are both waiting for him to be able to give another workshop. PREVIOUS RESEARCH This will be a one of a kind and first for our community. Although I have always wanted to teach the children of my community and church how to be a small farmer, I can’t afford to do it on my own because I am on a fixed income. The interest is there and the knowledge I want to pass along to my community and its people. We have a youth center already established in our community and I have talked to all the children there and they would love to grow produce for their families and friends. This project would allow our community kids to invite their friends from the city to get involved and show their city friends that country has a lot of great programs and they would be out harm’s way for a portion of the day. OUTREACH 1. Information will be shared through word of mouth, and by asking other farmers to come and speak and show some of their products to the kids and seniors. In fact some of the local farmers have funded a community grant to keep the Youth Enrichment Program up and running in our community for two weeks each summer since 1988, and some of them want to get involve with the youth in whatever capacity they can if it benefits the community. 2. My intention is to have a farmers market in our community to show the public what our kids and seniors were capable of with just a little help. We will sell our produce that will result from our project at the farmers market, however it must be remembered that any citizen of our community who can’t afford to purchase the fresh produce will receive a produce donation at no cost, with whatever monies we collect being returned to the project for the following year's projects. 3. It should be remembered that the whole concept of the project is to foster “Esprit de corps” in citizens who will learn to appreciate each other through constant involvement with the other generations. Any child who wishes to participate, regardless of physical capacity, is and will always be included. 4. The creation of this program will immediately produce community involvement and I have the support of a lot of our local citizens. I am a former Township Supervisor and I know most, if not all, of our local citizens. They have all shown interest in the creation of the project and quite a few have shown interest in teaching different aspects of the program. EVALUATION I will be monitoring all aspects of the project and documenting the progress of the project, like the cost of all items used in any way on the project. The social impacts of the project are as follows: the children will be growing and maintaining their own section of garden. The members may have a separate section or combine a section for their families and friends if the wish. But keep in mind all involved will have responsibilities such as weeding not only their section but must be willing to help others with their weeding and cultivating of other sections. The goal is to create community involvement, and sharing. My dream is to get the seniors citizens to share their vast knowledge and experience with the youth, so they don’t fear the ones they don’t know. The youth will learn from decades of growing knowledge what works and what doesn’t because the seniors will let them know and this will lead to interaction of both parties. DESCRIPTION I am the son of a farmer from Alabama, and my grandfather had a farm with over 1400 acres of cotton, corn, watermelons, peanuts, pecans, black walnuts; he also produced 500 pigs a year for market. My farm is new and I recently bought the land of two separate parcels; one is 20 acres, the other is 42 acres. My intention is to produce catfish for the market on the 42 acre parcel. I have a total of 67 acres on which I plan to grow corn, apples, and leafy greens, all of which are hearty and easy to grow and sell. Alpacas are in my future goals for my farm. The best method of production for seniors and handicapped individuals are raised beds. This would make it easy for the seniors to reach their gardens and the kids/ wheel-chair bound people could easily roll up to their sections, which will be about waist high for both the seniors and the handicapped sections of the gardens.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.