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We partner with the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, a K though 6 school located close by.  We do after- school gardening programming during the school year, as well as provide enrichment to in-school programming.

We also host many interactive tours though out the year for schools and youth groups.  To schedule a tour please email Denis Rochac, Education Coordinator.

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As pollinators, bees are responsible for the majority of the food crops we eat and are therefore an integral part of the Earthworks' community. Our apiary promotes biodiversity in our gardens, increased pollination rates, attracts beneficial insects, and also provides an important venue for educating our volunteers and friends about the importance of honeybees in our society.

Our honey is considered raw and never expires. It will crystallize if left in a cold area. You can easily de-crystallize your honey by warming it in a hot-water bath or heating it in the microwave (without the metal top).

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copyright ©Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Detroit., 2008, All Rights Reserved
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Thank you for signing up for the Earthworks Urban Farm mailing list.

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Please fill out the form below to sign up for the Earthworks Urban Farm mailing list.

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Every Wednesday afternoon a shipping container in our parking lot get opened up and crowds swell to work on their bikes.  Many folks in our community depend on bikes to get around, but don’t have access to tools or parts.  With the help our resident bike mechanic Mr. Howard we make sure people ride away with smile on their face.  We can always use an extra hand to help work on bikes.  Community bike shops goes from 12:30pm – 2:30pm.  We can also always use donations of parts in particular 26,27, and 700 tires, tubes and wheels.  We also can always use more bike tools and pumps. 

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For those seeking a more in-depth experience, we do offer a 9 month training program (Earthworks Training Program or EAT), geared to work with those from the city of Detroit to get the skills needed to create their own urban agriculture business and to obtain jobs in the burgeoning urban field.

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1264 Meldrum St.
Detroit, MI 48207
313-579-2100 Ext. 204
earthworks@cskdetroit.org

To VISIT:  You are welcome to visit us and take our self-guided tour at any time.  Click here for self-guided tour.   The best time to do take the self-guided tour is during one of our regular volunteer times.  To schedule a group tour, please contact us.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer lacinia vitae sem eget sagittis. Suspendisse fermentum cursus tellus, vitae aliquet dui laoreet mattis.

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The Capuchin Soup Kitchen receives no government subsidies; the ability to carry out our mission depends nearly totally on the generosity of benefactors.

Financial contributions from individuals, churches, businesses and community organizations are our “lifeline,” and are tax deductible. Your assistance will help us continue to provide services which have benefitted the people of our community for over eighty-five years. Please mail your donation to Capuchin Soup Kitchen, 1820 Mount Elliott St., Detroit, MI 48207

Donations of food, household appliances, clothing (new or “gently used”), and household appliances are gratefully accepted. Please drop off items to our Capuchin Services Center, 6333 Medbury St., Detroit, MI 48211   313-925-1370

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is working to bring positive change in our neighborhood and city.  Would you like to see examples of how you can help?

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By buying locally grown food, you are creating a more just, healthy food system for all. Here are some locations where you can buy locally grown food.


D-Town Farm.org

Keep Growing Detroit

Feedom Freedom

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network Market

Detroit Community Markets

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"Grown in Detroit"

Earthworks is Meldrum Fresh Market is a member of the Detroit Community Markets.  If you are not able to support our market we suggest supporting your neighborhood market. 


We support "Grown in Detroit" markets, a program of the Keep Growing Detroit, at farmers markets throughout Detroit. "Grown in Detroit" is produce that has been grown in family gardens, community gardens and urban farms in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. Please see the Garden Resource Program Collaborative calendar to learn where and when you can purchase or eat Grown in Detroit produce!

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The Meldrum Fresh Market (MFM) features Earthworks' certified organic produce and products, such as our honey and jams. Meldrum Fresh Market takes place every Thursday during the Soup Kitchen’s lunch hours of 11am to 2pm and runs from mid May until mid November.  Check our calendar for exact dates . The market location is at the Earthworks garage at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen,1264 Meldrum, Detroit 48207. All are welcome. Bridge Cards, Project Fresh coupons, and cash are welcomed forms of payment.


Please note the pricing structure used at this market is intended to make the produce accessible to our immediate neighbors and guests of the Soup Kitchen. The pricing structure is not designed to cover our costs. If you are able, we thank you for making a donation to support our being able to provide this service.

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You are welcome to visit us and take our self-guided tour at any time. The best time to do take the self-guided tour is Monday through Saturday during the growing season 9am - 4:30pm during which time the greenhouses are generally open. To schedule a group tour, please contact us.

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What does Earthworks do?

Earthworks’ primary activities include running a 2.5 acre farm, greenhouse, hoophouse.  We host classes for Detroit gardeners, provide youth after school programing, and provide a nine month intensive grower training program for adults.  We distribute our harvest at volunteer days, in meals cooked at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and though our seasonal farm stand.  

Where is Earthworks headed?

We are constantly asked if Earthworks has plans to expand.  If the right opportunity were to present itself, we might consider expanding, but at this point we are focused on working to insure that we are improving the quality of the work we are already doing. We strive to support those we work with as much as possible and develop long term relationships with them.  Our goal is not to be bigger just for the sake of size.  In the wise words of Edward Abbey, “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

Is Earthworks certified organic?

Yes, we are the only certified organic farm in the city.  Most of our friends also grow organically, they just haven’t chosen to certify.  They prefer their certification be though the personal relationships they have with their customers.  We chose to certify to prove that it could be done in an urban area and to help other growers who wanted to go through the process.  As organic growers, we uses no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.  We manage our soils though using composts and cover crops to increase fertility and soil biology.  We utilize cultural practices such as proper spacing, rotations, managing water and use of row cover to mitigate pest and disease problems.   

How does Earthworks fit into the greater urban agriculture work in Detroit?

Earthworks is one of the many examples of urban agriculture and food justice organizations in Detroit. We are independent of other agriculture organizations in the city, but mutually supportive and connected to many of them through professional and personal partnerships and friendships. We have worked and work with a number of organizations doing similar work, including but not limited to; Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, Feedom Freedom, Uprooting Racism Planting Justice, The Greening of Detroit, Gleaners Community Food Bank,Seed Wayne, Michigan State University, MSU extension, Keep Growing Detroit, The Food Justice Task Force and many more.

What about the lack of racial diversity in Earthworks?

While we would like to think that our staff is relatively representational of our city, our Program Manager is a white male who didn’t grow up in the community, and our leadership within the larger organization of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen is also largely white men. Our volunteer base is also largely made up of white volunteers from outside of Detroit. While all of this could be considered to be problematic, we also see opportunity in this. We see opportunities to discuss issues of race and class with a broader community. We still work hard to try to address the underlying issues of racism. We work closely with the organization Uprooting Racism Growing Justice. We encourage you to attend their monthly gatherings and to take part in their “Undoing Racism” trainings .

How does Earthworks fit into Capuchin Soup Kitchen?

Earthworks is a full program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, established in 1998 by a Capuchin friar employed by the kitchen. Our offices are located on site of the Meldrum Street Kitchen and the majority of our produce goes into meals at the kitchen. We see the Soup Kitchen as being one of our primary communities and we are continually striving to meet the needs of and engage Soup Kitchen guests in our work for a just food system. The Soup Kitchen hosts a variety of other programs, including a drug treatment center, Youth Tours & field trip opportunities and much more. Please ask us or visit the Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s homepage at www.cskdetroit.org for more information on the activities of the Soup Kitchen.

Do you ever pray in the gardens?

Twice a year we host a garden blessing which incorporates prayer sessions in a garden setting. We often feel that the close unity to nature (and a higher power, for some) achieved through gardening is satisfactory for many of our volunteers. One Earthworks' volunteer once said “everything we do here is a prayer.”

Where can I buy produce from Earthworks?

If you want, you don’t even have to buy Earthworks Produce! Most volunteer days we make sure folks go home with a part of the harvest. Earthworks' produce is available for purchase at Meldrum Fresh Market, every Thursday 11am-2pm during the growing season. Check our calendar for market starting dates. Most of our produce is used in meals at the Soup Kitchen - feel free to join us for lunch anytime! Lunch is served Monday through Friday, 11-1pm. All are welcome. Feel free to leave a donation (if you wish) in the jar. Other Earthworks products, such as jam and honey, are available for purchase throughout the year from our garage office.

How can I get involved?

We welcome your involvement on our farm in many different ways. We host volunteers at our weekly volunteer days. If you are interested in those opportunities, please sign up for our newsletter on the homepage. If you have ideas of other ways you are able to contribute to our work, please feel free to contact us. You can also get involved though donating to support our work.

What sort of crops are grown in the gardens?

We grow most every kind of commonly grown vegetable found in Southeast Michigan, as well as plenty 'not commonly' found. Because we strive for a year-round harvest, we find ourselves needing to expand our types of crops to suit colder seasons. We also grow a number of small fruits, tree fruits, culinary and medical herbs, and cut flowers. We are a small, but very diverse growing operation.

Where does the produce go?

We try to provide produce to all our volunteers when we have enough to share. We also have a weekly market stand during the growing season. The bulk of what we grow does into the meals that are served at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

How can you possibly grow in the winter?

We are fortunate to have a large unheated greenhouse that we are able to grow cold tolerant crops like spinach! We also make small tunnels out of plastic that protect crops out in the field. Growing throughout the winter is really pretty simple; it just takes plenty of planning.

What do you do in the winter?

There is plenty to do, from crop plans, to seed orders, to servicing tillers and fixing tools. Things slow down, but they certainly do not stop. The greenhouse gets cranked up by the end of February, making us plenty busy and we don’t slow down again till after Thanksgiving.

Isn’t the soil in Detroit contaminated?

Yes and no. Issues of contamination are very real in Detroit, but we test all the soil that we grow on, and only grow on those which have low lead levels. We strongly encourage those that want to start a garden to test their soils as well. We have found the most affordable source for quality lead testing is at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. You can find more info about their soil lab at this website.

Do you ever take apprentices/interns/volunteers?

We have regular volunteer hours every Wednesday from 9am-12pm February through the end of December with lunch following in the Soup Kitchen. We also have volunteer hours on Saturdays, April through the end of November, 9am-12pm. During the height for the growing season we host volunteer days Wednesday through Saturday. For those seeking a more in-depth experience, we do offer a 9 month training program (Earthworks Training Program or EAT), geared to work with those from the City of Detroit to get the skills needed to create their own urban agriculture business and to obtain jobs in the burgeoning urban field.

You may also be interested in considering joining the Cap Corps program a year long volunteer service project.

Those that are just interested in spending more time doing in-depth unpaid work should feel free to send us a letter of interest, and specify what skills they have that they can contribute.

How many gardens do you maintain in the city of Detroit?

Earthworks' gardens consist of approximately 7 gardens spread over 20 city lots spread within a 2 block radius of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. We don't garden outside of that space. We do, however, provide technical support for gardens all throughout the city. Through our involvement with the Garden Resource Programs we are able to provide support for gardens all throughout the City of Detroit.

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Earthworks hosts year long positions for Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps members. To learn more about the Cap Corps program, please visit www.capcorps.org. An ideal CapCorps volunteer is a compassionate and caring person who desires to grow in faith; is commited to gospel values; is in good physical and mental health; is adaptable to diverse cultures and situations; has a sense of humor; is 21 years of age or older; is single or married with no dependents; a U.S. citizen; and lastly, has a willingness to explore spirituality, social justice and sustainable living. Cap Corps volunteers are welcome to help out in all aspects of Earthworks and choose their own focus based on their personal interests.

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When seasonally avilable, Earthworks has honey jam, and handbalm available for sale. Through these products, we hope people become more familiar with the work Earthworks is doing and the importance of local products and food preservation.

HONEY- Our bees collect pollen and nectar from Detroit flowers, our vegetable plants and turn them into sweet honey. We bottle the honey in 9-fluid-ounce jars. Through beekeeping, we learn about and share the importance of bees in the daily lives of each of us.

JAM- Each year, our volunteers pick hundreds of pounds of berries from our gardens. The grapes, gooseberries, black and red raspberries, elderberries, and currants are harvested with love and are turned into jam during fall jam making sessions. In this process, we develop a greater understanding of how buying locally produced products will create a more just world for all.

Jam and honey are available at our garage at 1264 Meldrum, Detroit.

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A few things seem to always go missing, and we are always happy to receive more of them... including (but not limited to): gloves, harvest knives, scissors, pruners, a full size pickup truck in good working order (although we didn't lose our truck...but could use a newer one),  and 26” and 27” bike inner tubes.  Please contact us if you would like a more current list of our needs.

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We welcome you to volunteer with us. Volunteering is a
great way to get involved in our work, to learn more, and to meet some great people.  Our volunteer days vary slightly each season, but generally we host Wednesday volunteer hours February though the third week in December.  We host Wednesday and Saturday volunteer hours April through the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We host Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday volunteer hours starting in June and going into September.  Each day we work from 9am-12pm.  Give us a call or check our calendar before you come (just to be on the safe side).  We don’t hold volunteer hours on the following Saturdays - Memorial Day, Labor Day, and if the 4th July if it falls on  a Saturday.   

If you wish to bring a group, please contact Shane Bernardo Sbernardo@cskdetroit.org to do so.  If it is just you, a couple of friends, or your family, no need to schedule... just come on by.  

Please carefully read the below information regarding volunteering with Earthworks and share it with others that intend on volunteering with you. Let us know if you have any additional questions.

Type of work:

The type of volunteer work we have may depend on many variables such as the time of year, weather, size, and age of the group or otherwise. As such, it's difficult to share what exactly volunteers will be doing on a particular date.

In general, some of those things may include:

  • mixing soil/making soil blocks or germination trays
  • flipping compost
  • planting/seeding or thinning out seedlings
  • pricking out seedling/transplants
  • harvesting/processing produce
  • cultivating/weeding beds
  • general cleanup and other tasks generally related to gardening or farming.

In other words, manual labor that includes lifting, kneeling, crouching, bending, twisting, turning, shoveling, raking, etc. Caution may be required when working or walking on ground that is loose, uneven or slippery.

Location:

Earthworks is located at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen's Meldrum site, 1264 Meldrum (at St. Paul) Detroit, MI 48207. We are located between Kercheval and E. Lafayette and between Mt. Elliott and Beaufait on Detroit's near eastside right behind the Capuchin Monastary and St. Bonaventure.

Here's a map! http://goo.gl/maps/YTxPM

Times:

Days vary by season.  Wednesday volunteer days are seasonal starting in February and going though the third Wednesday in December.  Saturday volunteers start in April and run though the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Thursday and Friday volunteers start in June and go though September.  Volunteers hours go from 9am to 12pm  After volunteering, you are more than welcome to join us in the Soup Kitchen for lunch Wednesday though Friday.  We do not host volunteers on Memorial Day or Labor day, or the 4th of July. 

Group Size:

The only time you need to call ahead is if you're coming with a group larger than 5 people.  The largest group we can accommodate at any time is 15.

Age:

We don't have any age restrictions. We just ask that younger folks under 18 are accompanied by their parents/legal guardians or have their expressed written consent.

Attire:

Please make sure that you come prepared to work by wearing the appropriate clothing: comfortable, closed-toe shoes and long pants that you don't mind getting dirty.  We also highly recommend that you bring a reusable water bottle, a hat with a brim to keep the sun out of your face and maybe some sun block.  We work rain or shine so dressing for the weather is also recommended.

Photos:

Volunteers are more than welcome to take photos of our gardens.  We ask that photos including people from the community or other volunteers are taken with their expressed permission whether or not the photos are for personal use or will be published.  Likewise, Earthworks' staff may also take photos of volunteer activities to share in our weekly newsletter, facebook page and twitter account.  Volunteer groups should communicate this if they don't already have a policy regarding photos.  We respect and highly regard any individual’s or group's right to not have their photo taken.

Other opportunities:

You can also volunteer in our Soup Kitchen.  At our Soup Kitchen, Rita Johnson schedules volunteers to help prep and serve food.  Her phone number is (313) 579-2100 x 213. There are two volunteer shifts in the Soup Kitchen. One is from 6am-10am and the next shift is from 11am-2pm.

When you arrive to volunteer at Earthworks, please ask for Patrick (Farm/Program Manager) or Roxanne (Asst Farm Manager).

All are highly encouraged to join our email list to receive weekly email updates that include volunteer opportunities by clicking here.  Or call us at (313)-579-2100, ext 204 for more information.

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Earthworks is a program of Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit, Michigan. Together, we not only feed Detroit residents, but also strive to create a food-just Detroit, one in which all people have control over their food. The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is a human service organization inspired by the spirit of St. Francis and sponsored by the Capuchin Friars of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is much, much more than just a soup kitchen.

Founded in 1929, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen serves Metro Detroit by providing food, clothing, and human development programs to the people of our community.  In addition to preparing and serving up to 2,000 meals a day, it operates a shower program, emergency food pantry, and a tutoring and art therapy program for children. It also distributes household items and clothing. Its Earthworks Urban Farm produces 14,000 pounds of produce from a two and a half acre organic farm, and educates the community in regards to sustainable relationships between human beings and the earth.  The Soup Kitchen’s On the Rise Bakery assists individuals "re-entering" society after bouts of incarceration or substance abuse.  In addition, the Soup Kitchen’s Jefferson House, a twelve bed residential treatment facility, assists indigent males seeking to reclaim their lives from addiction. It is funded primarily by donations, receiving no government assistance. 

www.thecapuchins.org

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In 1997, Capuchin Friar Brother Rick Samyn felt a calling to start a garden at his workplace, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.  Inspired by his relationship with neighborhood youth (whom he witnessed getting their groceries from the gas station), he decided the youth of the neighborhood needed to understand what good food was, and where it came from.  The garden was created to connect people to each other, the land, and their food.

Over time this simple humble garden greatly expanded.  A large plot was added behind our partner, Gleaner’s Community Food Bank; an apiary that swelled at one point to be as large as 40 hives; a greenhouse for transplant production; a hoop house for year round production; a community orchard; and lots of community plots. It’s not just the gardens that have grown, but our work as well.  We now host at least 12 interns each growing season, countless volunteers, provide tons of produce to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, host a weekly market stand, tours for visitors around the world, grow transplants for thousands of community gardens throughout the city, and provide garden programming at our partner the James and Grace Lee Boggs School.  Over the course of our history we have tried all kinds of other programs, a mobile market, CSA, markets at churches and clinics, weekly discussion groups and much, much more.  We are constantly evolving and changing.  

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Earthworks Urban Farm, founded in 1998, is a program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

The farm is located on 2.5 acres of land and is certified organic.  We seek to build a just, beautiful food system through education, inspiration, and community development. As a working study in both social justice and in knowing the origins of the food we eat, Earthworks strives to restore our connection to the environment and community.

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Editor: Shane Bernardo    website by jeffdunn.com