From the June 2016 issue

Beyond the Seed Greenhouse and Gardens

The kids run everything at this greenhouse and garden at the Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center in Ray Township.

Getting out in the garden has big benefits. For proof, just visit one of Beyond the Seed‘s weekend flower or vegetable sales. Guess who the growers are? Kids!

“The kids run everything,” says Faye Cerku, who leads this project and its 18 members. “It’s all about them. How much you put in is how much you’ll get out.”

This greenhouse and garden is located in Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center in Ray Township. Since 2013, its members – who all belong to 4-H – have signed up for the 10-month entrepreneurial program. “They plant, water and fertilize three or four times a week,” Cerku says. “Kids basically learn by doing.”

It’s a big commitment, and the kids’ families help and volunteer as well. But the result is a lot of lessons and giving back – both to the community and other kids.

“It’s kind of like a teaching facility,” Cerku says. For example, at weekend markets, the kids sell popular hanging baskets and flats – and show young visitors the ropes. When vegetables start coming up, they happily teach their peers the right way to pick a tomato, the difference between bush beans and poles beans and lots more. “Kids leave with a small basket of vegetables,” she says.

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The crew tends to both flowers and raised vegetable gardens. During a fall harvest, they turn part of the greenhouse into a farm stand and sell the produce, too.

They’ve also donated over 2,000 pounds of food to Forgotten Harvest, Susan G. Komen and more – and put in over 15,000 hours of service.

“We wanted to make it a fun, vibrant thing for the community,” Cerku says.

More about Beyond the Seed

  • Market: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (flowers till June 25; produce starts July 16).
  • Kid teas: These fun events support the project. Next up: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both June 18 and July 16. $8/person. Pre-register.
  • Harvest fest: Sample food and get recipes at a late August/early September event (date TBD).
  • Join: for more about the 10-month project, call project director Faye Cerku at 586-203-7001.
  • Where: Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center, 65775 Wolcott Road, Ray Township

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