Detroit’s urban agricultural movement was in the spotlight again on a recent summer evening. Nestled in a working urban garden, six non-profit organizations received $100,000 in funding and in kind donations for urban agriculture initiatives. Funding was provided for programs that:
- Will increase access to fresh produce;
- Reduce blight;
- Enhance job training opportunities;
- Kick start a commercial kitchen; and,
- Fund 1600 home gardens.
The funding came from Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC), a comprehensive automotive design, engineering, and vehicle development center. Since 2015, Mahindra has donated a combined total of $300,000 in cash and farm equipment to ten non-profits in support of sustainable farming and gardening in Detroit. In 2017, the Mahindra Urban Agriculture Grant Program expanded to accept applications from urban agriculture programs in Pontiac.
This year’s recipients and the programs the grants will support, include:
- Full Circle Foundation ($7,075): to fund a summer intern employment program for developmentally disabled teens and young adults (2015 & 2016 grant recipient)
- The Greening of Detroit ($20,000): to support the Build-A-Garden program that provides assistance to gardeners across the city. (2015 & 2016 grant recipient)
- Keep Growing Detroit ($20,000): to install technology that will enable low-income individuals and families to use government issued EBT bridge cards to buy produce and seedlings from the Grown in Detroit program. (2015 & 2016 grant recipient)
- Neighbors Building Brightmoor ($22,000): to partially fund, along with Mahindra North America, the purchase of a Mahindra tractor with attachments (2015 & 2016 grant recipient)
- Micah 6 Community ($8,000): to build a 2,000 square foot greenhouse at the Webster Community Center in Pontiac. (1st year recipient)
- Pingree Farms ($26,010): to purchase a Mahindra tractor for use at the 13-acre farm site. (1st year recipient)
An estimated 1.2 million pounds of fresh food have been grown and distributed to Detroit residents through the efforts of the groups that received Mahindra grants or equipment over the past two years. Among other outstanding results, the company’s donations supported the opening of a Garden Resource hub in Southwest Detroit, and the purchase of a delivery vehicle to support the entrepreneurial efforts of the Full Circle Foundation’s trainees at the Edible Garden.
“The progress our urban agriculture partners are making, with assistance from Mahindra’s grants, is very commendable,” said Richard Haas, MANA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “I am amazed by the innovative ideas these groups present for funding. We couldn’t be prouder of the impact the company’s support is having on accessibility to fresh, nutritious produce at affordable prices to residents within each organization’s service area.”
Mahindra Summer Music Series
The July 27 check presentation also served to kick off a three part music series in Lafayette Greens designed support The Greening of Detroit. The July 27 concert featured Asamu Johnson & The Associates of the Blues . Concerts take place Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in Lafayette Gardens. The three part music series benefits The Greening of Detroit. Concerts are at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Upcoming concerts include Samantha Farrrell on August 24 and The Crane Wives sometime in September.
Tickets are $10 and available at tiny.cc/mahindra-concerts or on site.