MSU project helps urban garden grow in Detroit

4/17/2013 9:45 AM
By Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan State University seniors Annie Melcher and Derell Griffin have been working with residents in the Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood for more than a year, helping residents maintain an urban garden.

On Sunday, Melcher, 21, and Griffin, 22, joined about 40 other Michigan State students to complete a water-catchment system that will provide a cost-effective, sustainable and eco-friendly way of watering the garden where neighborhood youths learn to grow and harvest vegetables.

"The garden project plays a larger role for the youth because they learn about planting and harvesting crops to grow their own food or sell it," Griffin told the Detroit Free Press ( ). "It teaches them how to make a livelihood."

The catchment system is made from six 275-gallon drums that will be housed around the pillars in the garden's pavilion. The drums will feed into gutters planted around the pavilion, and the water will run into the garden.

"It's a sustainable irrigation method," Melcher said. "It's exciting because it will sustain the garden for many years."

Melcher, an arts and humanities student from East Lansing, conceived of the project and is a Detroit Community Challenge winner. A $2,500 grant she received for winning the challenge will be used to fund the project.

Melcher based her project on her experiences while studying in South Africa and participating in the Global Youth for Education and Change program.

Griffin, a landscape architect major from Detroit, already was working with residents in the Brightmoor neighborhood on the garden project. Griffin and Melcher teamed up to double their efforts.

MSU students in the Global Youth for Education and Change program meet weekly, Melcher said, and often spend weekends volunteering in cities across the world.

"We are constantly looking for ways to engage youth all over the world," Melcher said.


Information from: Detroit Free Press,

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