Gardening knowledge goes beyond shovels in Edible Flint winter classes

Gardening knowledge goes beyond shovels in Edible Flint winter classes
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A green thumb is only the beginning.

At Edible Flint there’s more to be learned about natural, nutritious food than how to plant and pick it from the soil.

February classes sponsored by the organization are being launched to lead right into spring when Flint residents can not only get their hands dirty in the soil again, but gain knowledge about how to expand into the business of local agriculture.

Scheduled courses address topics that will include crop planning, harvesting and storage and financial management. Open to all Genesee County residents who want to grow food in an urban community, classes cost just $6.

“Those are all classes that are geared to helping our growers get started in their businesses,” says Deb Hamilton, coordinator of Edible Flint’s Garden Starters program.

Growers, those who garden with the goal of selling their fruits and vegetables for retail, are becoming a larger segment of Flint’s population in recent years. Fall classes attracted an average of five to 15 students, Hamilton says. Winter classes are held at 6 p.m. Mondays at 605 North Saginaw, Suite 1-A.

“In any business, you’ve got to have the proper management skills and accounting skills to make it successful,” Hamilton says.

Along with record-keeping and managerial courses, Edible Flint will still host its core Garden Starters Training Series, beginning Feb.19. Feb. 9 is the deadline for registration.

Other initiatives of Edible Flint scheduled this year include the launch of its new Food Hub in June, where vendors and growers will serve the community, and the opening of its demo garden, which produced 2,000 pounds of produce that was donated to residents in 2017. Largely staffed by volunteers, the 4,000-square-foot plot of land is located at Fifth Avenue and Begole across from Hurley Medical Center.

The winter schedule of classes includes information often shared by both students and instructors who’ve gained firsthand knowledge of the growing and retailing landscapes, Hamilton says.

“Some of them are more experienced growers who have been out there for a while,” she says, “and they’ll tell you that learned sense is better than bought sense.”

For more information about available classes and schedules, visit www.edibleflint.org.

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