One of the main questions volunteers ask me when they come to the farm is if I am an Environmental Sciences major. They then ask me for gardening advice. They are shocked when I tell them I have no clue how to garden and am more of an activist than a gardener.
As a psychology major who is passionate about social justice, it made sense for me to work for the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, a nonprofit organization that seeks to engage members of the Michigan community in sustainable agriculture. MUFI believes that challenges unique to the Michigan community (e.g., vacant land, poor diet, nutritional illiteracy, and food insecurity) present a unique opportunity for community-supported agriculture. Using agriculture as a platform to promote education, sustainability, and community—while simultaneously reducing socioeconomic disparity—MUFI hopes to empower urban communities.
I’ve learned it can be challenging working in an area you have little expertise in. I’ve had to learn how to farm along the way. Gladly I have gained skills and insights about farming and have fellow interns who are willing to teach me. Below is a picture of a hoop house that I installed with the help of a volunteer group. This was the first time I gained a farming skill and could offer an asset to the team. This photo also demonstrates the area that the farm is in and the beauty urban agriculture can offer.