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Our Year at Historic Barns Park

Posted by SEEDS on Dec 29 , 2020 - 08:25 pm

Trainings, Indoor Plumbing, & Food Access!

As a management partner of this treasured public park in Traverse City, our mission comes alive in all its facets. We host kid-friendly learning opportunities, our EcoCorps crews help with build-out and maintenance projects, and Energy & Environment concepts and solutions are shared through exhibits, tours, and demonstrations. Despite a pandemic, a lot of good happened at Historic Barns Park! Big thanks to voters in Traverse City & Garfield Township who approved a millage renewal to our landlord, the Recreational Authority!

EcoCorps Work & Training

During the 2020 season, SEEDS EcoCorps trained 35 crew members in a variety of workforce skills, leadership, community engagement, and environmental literacy. Historic Barns Park is one important Center where SEEDS 'plants seeds' to inspire new leaders to solve social and ecological problems!

Crew members worked on the SEEDS Farm to help grow, harvest, and deliver garlic to many of you and lots of produce to families in need of access to fresh, healthy produce. These agricultural services deemed 'essential' during the pandemic will remain core activities post-pandemic as increasing food access is a critical need in our communities.

Also this year, Architect Jess Glowacki of EcoPhi volunteered to work with SEEDS staff and VISTA members to develop competency in 3D computer modeling and created the blueprints for the bathroom buildout (below). This was the first step in an ongoing partnership to create virtual walkthroughs of SEEDS existing and future projects at Historic Barns Park.

Workshop 223 Facility Improvements

With generous support from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Oleson Foundation, the Biederman Foundation, and MIOSHA, SEEDS installed a bathroom inside Workshop 223 near the entrance to the Park where staff, volunteers, community gardeners, and youth have a centrally located place from which to provide essential community services. In addition to an electric mini-split that will heat and cool a corner of the building, we also added bipolar ionization system for increased indoor air quality - a pandemic influenced decision with post-pandemic benefits.

Big thanks also to the Brookby Foundation, the Shafer-Tuuk Foundation, and other generous donors [like you *hint*hint*] who help us take advantage of infrastructure improvements and expand practical EcoCorps training into (de)construction and green building technologies, in addition to other agriculture, and leadership offerings.

Expanding Fresh Food Access

"I loved working on the SEEDS Farm this summer, especially the Father Fred Giving Garden! I think it is amazing when locally grown produce can become a meal for someone who needs it." - Dana Pflughoeft, 2020 AmeriCorps Summer Associate

One of our top goals at the Park is to create spaces to gather, learn, share ideas, and grow food in healthy soil using organic methods for improved nutrition and health. During this year of crisis, gardening became an essential coping strategy and the safe outdoor spaces in Historic Barns Park served as a nexus point that deepened community connections.

This year SEEDS hosted a new 'resident farmer' the Father Fred Foundation, who now has raised bed plots to grow food for their guests, in addition to our multi-year resident farmers of Poesis Farm who also donate produce and flowers as well as propagate heirloom seeds on portions of the SEEDS Farm.

 

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Request for Proposals: SEEDS is requesting proposals from potential collaborators with interesting, innovative ideas to create demonstrations on our management areas at Historic Barns Park in Traverse City. Projects do not necessarily need to be related to food production, but will utilize the management area and resources in a regenerative manner. Research, social benefit, and enterprise concepts are welcome. Visit our website or see the RFP for further details. Due January 31, 2021

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