Fighting Hunger with Urban Gardening in Michigan
November 7, 2011
The United Church Outreach Ministry is planting seeds in their
community. UCOM is an agency of the Grand West Association of the Michigan
Conference of the United Church of Christ. They founded the "Growing Green
Neighbors" program, with the goal of helping members of their community
learn to grow their own foods.
For their first project the group started the Square Foot Gardening program. Local gardeners
are given a 4x4 raised garden box along with soil and seeds. The boxes are
sectioned into 16 one foot squares and program participants choose 16 crops,
including up to four trellised plants, to grow in their gardens.
Those in the program attend a monthly meeting hosted at UCOM where they
talk with a master gardener or farmer, ask questions, and receive helpful hints
and advice. Program participants will also be visited by volunteer gardeners
periodically throughout the summer to help address any specific concerns they
As a condition of enrollment in the program, all gardeners are asked to
teach the skill to a friend or neighbor who will then receive their own garden
box the following summer.
Within five years UCOM hopes to have 300 Square Foot Garden boxes
dotting the landscape of the community, helping their neighbors become more
self-sufficient while making their slice of Greater Grand Rapids just a little