Earthworks Garden and Poultry Urban CSA

2002 Annual Report for LNC01-187

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $99,706.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Ashley Atkinson
Hunger Action Coalition

Earthworks Garden and Poultry Urban CSA

Objectives/Performance Targets

  1. Fourteen tons of vegetables originating from four urban farms will be sold and distributed through the Earthworks CSA.

    50 cubic yards of compost will be generated from local yard waste and food that has been discarded by Gleaners Community Food Bank.

    A “Local Foods” brochure and accompanying directory of Michigan farmers involved in direct marketing will be developed and distributed to 5,000 people.

    Twenty-four workshops on the topics of food system sustainability, food preservation, cooking, composting, and land use will be produced.

    Twelve hundred broilers and 440 lbs of honey will be produced by 60 Detroit Public School students involved in the Catherine Ferguson Academy Agriscience Program.

    Curriculum materials aimed at teaching urban youth composting, agriculture and pastured broiler production methods will be compiled into a resource for local teachers interested in developing agriscience programs in their schools; agriculture, worm-composting and poultry starter kits will be assembled for interested teachers.


  1. Together, project stakeholders have produced more than 12,800 pounds of fresh vegetables since 2001. Approximately one ton of these has been sold and distributed to CSA members through the Earthworks garden; 4.5 tons have been sold at local farmer’s markets to WIC participants through Project Fresh; and one ton has been donated to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. To meet this objective, project stakeholders must produce 7.6 additional tons of fresh vegetables.

    Since 2001, Earthworks CSA has produced more than 60 yards of compost from 50,000 pounds of discarded food and yard waste.

    Project participants are currently working with CSAs throughout the state to develop a Michigan CSA directory. This directory is expected to be completed by March, 2003, and will be distributed during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week at Michigan State University at a day long workshop for CSA participants and supporters. Earthworks is partnering with CSA leaders in Mason, Michigan, and Traverse City, Michigan, to organize this event. Information from the Michigan CSA directory as well as the state “U-Pick” directory will be used to develop a directory of local food producers in the Detroit area. This directory is expected to be completed by May, 2003, and will be distributed to Earthworks CSA members and supporters, as well as Detroit Agriculture Network members and supporters.

    Since 2001, Earthworks CSA has sponsored 23 workshops with help from project participants. These 23 workshops included 18 hands-on canning demonstrations with CSA members and supporters, four beekeeping lessons with Higgins Elementary School environmental club members, and one composting workshop with CSA members. Project participants plan on continuing and expanding these workshops in 2003 due to their overwhelming popularity and success.

    Since 2001, project participants have produced 268 pounds of honey and 20 broilers with assistance from approximately 75 Detroit Public School students from Catherine Ferguson Academy and Higgins Elementary School. In 2003 participants are planning to double the number of existing beehives, and expand broiler production to 100 per/year.

    This summer, CFA developed and implemented a very successful agriscience centered summer school program in which 45 Detroit youth participated. Program coordinators are in the process of assembling and editing their curriculum materials so they can be duplicated for use in other programs. In addition, Earthworks CSA has an intern from Marygrove College working on developing nutrition and food system curriculum for elementary school students at O.W. Holmes and middle school students at Christ Lutheran Church. All curriculum materials will be complied and ready for distribution and use this summer. In addition, agriculture, composting, and poultry starter kits will be made available to interested summer programs that plan on using the curriculum this summer.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The SARE grant has enabled project participants, namely Earthworks CSA, to build and sustain its food production operations. Because of SARE, there exists in Detroit today a highly productive urban oasis in the midst of burned buildings and trash-strewn vacant lots. This urban oasis has not only produced more than 12,000 pounds of fresh produce, 200 pounds of honey, and 60 yards of compost, it has attracted hundreds of volunteers, and generated hope and positive feelings about an area that has been drowning in disinvestment, despair and negativity for years.

This is only the beginning. We’ve spent the last two years troubleshooting and problem-solving. The project sites that were once filled with remnants of demolished homes and buildings are now fertile, productive agriculture lands. Today project participants feel like they have worked out the kinks and learned how to overcome the many challenges associated with producing food in harsh urban environments. Now they feel as if “they have a place to show people” and look forward to “having a place to share with people”.


Rick Samyn

Capuchin Soup Kitchen
MI 48207
Paul Weertz

Science Teacher
Catherine Ferguson Academy
John Gruchala

Foundation for Agriculture Resources in Michigan