by Elyse Wild
It’s been a long time coming, but it has finally has arrived: spring. Yes, the official calendar date marking the onset of vernal equinox has long passed, but mother nature has finally caught up to speed. The sun is beaming and the soil is ripe, which can only mean one thing: It’s time to get your garden on. For those who are new to growing their green thumb or have been whiling away the winter months dreaming of flourishing edible flora, Urban Roots Grand Rapids, a community farm, market and education center located in the Madison Square Neighborhood, (1316 Madison Ave SE) has you covered with a bundle of events during May.
Urban Roots kicks off The Community Market on May 15. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until Nov. 30, produce seekers are welcome to enjoy the robust offerings of organic fruits and vegetables grown just a few feet away on the community farm. Along with the opening of the market, the farm will also be hosting a plant sale, providing seeds, starts and exceptional plants to get your gardening season started off right. Conveniently located, the market is open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., making it the perfect pit stop during lunch or after work. Additionally, they accept cash, credit/debit, Senior Market Fresh, WIC and SNAP, and offer a discount on all items for customers who live in the neighborhood.
Stop by Urban Roots on May 16 from 5:30-7:30 for their first open house of the season to nosh on a free and oh, so delicious dinner fresh from the garden (vegetarian, gluten and vegan options available) while getting to know the farm and the people who make it all happen.
If you want to jump in and lend a hand, onsite volunteer opportunities are available.
On May 23 from 6:30-7:45, dip your toes into the world of urban gardening with “Grow Your First Garden.” In this free workshop, participants learn how to apply gardening techniques to an urban setting and are introduced to Michigan growing seasons, order of operations, growing schedules, choosing what to plant, irrigation, harvesting and how it all leads up to one thing: cooking and eating what your garden produces. Urban Roots Program Manager Jenny Bongiorno emphasizes that the workshop is designed for anyone and everyone.
“We want to encourage people to think out of the box,” Bongiorno expressed. “Whether you have an apartment and a single container, or a house with a huge lot next to it, the workshop is about finding a way to work gardening into your life.”
Register at urbanrootsgr.org/workshops.
What: Urban Roots Grand Rapids Community Market, Open House and Workshop
Where: Urban Roots Grand Rapids, 1316 Madison Ave. SE
• Community Market: May 15—Nov. 30, Tue., Wed., Thu., 12 -4 p.m
• Open House: May 1, 5:30- 7:30 p.m.
• Grow Your First Garden Workshop: May 26, 6:30-7:45 p.m.