Churches plan urban farm to help hungry families

Updated: Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Churches plan urban farm to help hungry families story image

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Help is on the way for families having trouble putting food on the table.

It's happening in Battle Creek, where several churches are planning an urban farm.

Newschanel 3 checked out the site Tuesday.

We spoke to two United Methodist Church pastors who’ve noticed that a lot of people in the Cereal City are going hungry every day.

"I mentioned we had this land that we could start a garden," said Marshall Murphy Jr., Pastor of Washington Heights United Methodist Church.

There’s 5.5 acres of vacant land next to Washington Heights United Methodist Church.
 
Eight Methodist churches in Battle Creek got together and came up with a plan.

"We're going to do three rows of fruit trees, apples, pears, and the third will be peaches or plums, then we'll have 60 to 90 foot plots of individual vegetables," said Scott Bouldrey, Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church.
     
Plans also call for building a greenhouse and buying a building off site to raise fish and grow vegetables.
    
"We hope to have 220,000 lbs. of fruits and vegetables come out of here on a yearly basis," Bouldrey said.

The food will go to soup kitchens, food pantries and other community organizations.

The big goal is to get healthy food to people in poverty.

They say those getting food assistance don't always get the healthiest meals.
 
"To provide these foods, it reaches beyond their diets. It's going to get into health issues too," Bouldrey said.  

Right now the land is being cleared and foundations from old homes are being removed.

For the next several months, they'll work on securing grants and raising funds.
     
 "Even if it's coming out to help us turn over the land, we are looking for that. This is something for the community; it extends beyond the congregations at our churches," Murphy said.  

"A lot of times you help when people come to your door. And you're getting them a tank of gas and a couple bags of groceries and you know it won't last. This is something that can last," Bouldrey said.  

They’ll be breaking ground this upcoming spring and then the planting will start.

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