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Greater Lansing Food Bank’s 'The Garden Project' hosts annual tour of urban farms and gardens July 18


Listen to the wisdom of Lansing’s urban farming green thumbs while touring the city’s community gardens.

In its 35th anniversary, the Garden Project will showcase its urban farms and gardens with walking, bike and bus tours after a 5:15 p.m. welcome reception at the Garden Project Resource Center on 2401 Marcus St.

Starting at 6 p.m., the tours will include stops at local gardens where gardeners are available to talk about their yearly harvest and efforts to promote food growth in the city.

We've been doing the Garden Project tours for a number of years now, said Justin Rumenapp, communication coordinator for the Greater Lansing Food bank. It's a way to invite the community together, let people know what's going on and to enjoy a nice summer evening.”

Refreshments and light snacks will be offered as well.

“There will probably be some lemonade, water, cucumber water and fresh fruits — Michigan blueberries or something like that,” said Rumenapp.

At the welcome reception, there will be a speech and gardeners will share information about how their gardens fared in the grow season, said Rumenapp. “Every year is a learning process of what works and doesn't work in the agriculture business.”

Started in the early 80s, the Garden Project is more than just helping people out with growing local produce, Rumenapp said. “It is really important for us to not only just provide food, but to provide ways for people to help life themselves out of poverty,” said Rumenapp.

“Tools, seeds, training and other resources is just another way we are doing that. People are able to grow their own vegetables, their own produce and their own fruit. That is a learning opportunity for younger children.”

One of the newer programs the Greater Lansing Food Bank is implementing is mobile food pantries, said Rumenapp. “The Garden Project is a way that we are trying to provide more fresh and local food into the community, but not everybody has access to vehicles,” said Rumenapp.

“We try to pick things that are on bus routes. We try to go into that community and make sure some of that produce is available.”

30-percent of farmers donate their produce to charitable causes, according to the Garden Project’s summer newsletter. “I think people like to pay it forward and people know it’s a great program,” said Rumenapp.

“Sometimes their harvest is so bountiful that, rather than letting it go to waste, they give back. We are so happy that people are able to donate and pay it into the food bank.”

None of this could happen without community support, said Rumenapp. “Community gardens will only work if the community supports it. We are so happy that the community is able to support it.”

Looking forward, Rumenapp said there will be a canning event come fall if gardeners want to can their produce after harvest.

“Ideally we'd like to go out of business, because there will be no more hungry people. But for the time being, we've got to respond to the need.”

To RSVP to this event, email gardenproject@glfoodbank.org or call 517-853-7809. For more information, visit https: www.facebook.com/events/300410640494463


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