The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
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A 2007 study found that over half a million Detroit residents lived in a "food desert", meaning they had to travel twice as far to reach a grocery store as a convenience store, party store or fast food restaurant. Read the study here.


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cultivating community

our garden

Around Ann Arbor and across the country there is an increasing interest in community garden, especially in urban areas. The best way to learn how to garden in an urban setting is to simply dig right in! Cultivating Community fosters this new interest in urban gardening for students by focusing on providing hands-on education at our working garden. At this garden, University of Michigan students can experience every step of the gardening process, from planning to harvesting (and eating!).


CC Intern, Rachel Long, picking an heirloom tomato.
  • Ginsberg Center Garden

Conveniently located on campus at the Ginsberg Center, this garden is a wonderful site for us, where UM students can help demonstrate small-scale, urban garden techniques such as vertical planting, composting and seed saving, crop rotation, and season extension. We grow both familiar and more unusual crops; stop by this summer to see our giant pumpkin, or to sample some hot peppers. In past years, we've incorporated a permaculture herb spiral, rain barrels, and educational signage into the garden.

Ginsberg Garden Location

Cultivating Community student volunteers are able to take home as much of the garden produce and fresh herbs as they want. University of Michigan Chef Nelson "Buzz" Cummings also takes small amounts of herbs and other produce for use in the East Quad cafeteria and other University dining areas. Excess produce is donated to the local food bank, Food Gatherers.


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