Feeding Inkster began with several members’ personal knowledge of gardening and expanded their access to expertise and resources through contacts with the NKFM. Starting from scratch, Feeding Inkster identified areas where they could locate the gardens; recruited help from local individuals and from the City of Inkster for machinery and other resources; prepared the land for planting; planted, maintained, and harvested the gardens; and distributed the produce to gardening volunteers and local pantries. Students and teachers from two Inkster school districts played major roles in the project. The first season faced several challenges, including heavy rains that delayed planting . Nevertheless, the season was a success, yielding 6800 pounds of produce.
Today, Feeding Inkster’s second year of community gardening is off to a fine start. The workgroup meets every two weeks to discuss and implement the steps necessary for the expanded gardens to thrive this year. Plants have been ordered and responsibilities assigned. One member of the group is taking a Master Gardener class in order to provide guidance to the gardeners. Feeding Inkster has introduced gardening clubs in the Inkster schools. The impact of the community gardening project on food security in Inkster is augmented by the nutrition and health education classes sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation Michigan. In addition, Feeding Inkster has arranged for informational cards to be printed giving the locations of the community gardens and food pantries in Inkster. This is truly a story of successful community engagement in the service of improving the health and well-being of a community’s residents.