“Flint Unity Farming Project” Teaches Skills, Creates Jobs for Young People
IN THE LIGHT:“Flint Unity Farming Project” Teaches Skills, Creates Jobs for Young People Inspired by hard work ethics and a desire to make a difference in the community, Delmond Marshall started the Flint Unity Farming Project. Along with his older brother Derrick, an Army Veteran, they educate young people, teaching them life skills and how to get in tune with themselves and nature through gardening and farming.
“Gardening has been scientifically proven to ease stress and it teaches patience,” says Delmond. “Creating jobs for kids through hands-on work is the best way to help them. Most of the problems communities have with the youth in the neighborhoods is the lack of a positive voice and economics, from lack of jobs due to their circumstances. We have to show our kids how to use their own hands, blood and sweat, and learn how to make their own way. It’s hard, you’ll get dirty and it takes time, but it’ll teach them.”
Delmond is speaking from experience, as he’s been gardening and farming his entire life. His parents are from Mississippi and grew up on their grandparents’ farms. Delmond and Derrick spent their summer vacations there, working hard in the pastures, feeding slop to the hogs and feeding the horses.
“My father made us learn how to garden. We had to follow him eight hours a week while he worked the farm. If we didn’t get that time logged in, we couldn’t go anywhere for the weekend. We picked the corn and beans right off the stalks and they were fixed for dinner that night. I see how our young people and the city of Flint can benefit from the concept of growing your own food,” says Delmond.
With a target age group of 5-17 years of age, the Flint Unity Farming Project got underway, thanks to Aurora Innovations of Eugene, Oregon that sponsored the event & donated plenty of fertilizer, soil and bone meal to make sure all grown on the farm land will be organic. Along with Dr. Panicker of Alcorn State University in Lorman Mississippi who donated seeds & books & the curriculum for the students. Flint Unity Farming Project will consist of an eight week course that meets twice a week, once in the classroom and the other at the farming sight. The course teaches the kids basic instructions on how to farm, what vegetables to grow during Michigan’s farming season, how to plant organic plants, and how to operate lawn equipment.
Upon completion of the course, those of legal working age will be able to be hired by Trevis Rouser Lawn Service, a company that Delmond has started. “This way, our kids will be able to be employed by cutting grass, doing landscaping and other yard work, as well as shoveling snow during the winter months. It’s important that we give our kids year-round employment,” he says.
All items for the programs are donated, and supplies are still needed to keep the programs running, such as electric hedge trimmers, lawnmowers, gloves and shovels. Funding and sponsorship, both by individuals and businesses are appreciated, as they help secure the future and vitality of the programs and our young people. “I’m seeing the difference that one person can make in a community that needs hope,” says Delmond.