New greenhouses make south Lansing community garden a year-round operation

Volunteers hunched over plots of land at Hill Community Garden last week, clipping dead vines and preparing the beds for winter.

"I wanted to partner with a local food bank to see what we could do to help out the community," said Smriti Patil, who helped organize the volunteer day at the garden on behalf of Michigan State University's School of Human Resources and Labor Relations' graduate student union. "Post-COVID, it's the most direct way to help people." 

Hill Community Garden, located in south Lansing, is one of several urban farms in the area growing produce to donate to local food pantries. 

Recently, two new structures were built on-site — a greenhouse and a hoop house — doubling the amount of produce the garden can grow by allowing it to operate year-round.

"That's just hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and meals that can address food insecurity," said Michelle Lantz, CEO of the Greater Lansing Food Bank, which works with the garden to provide food at local food pantries.

The greenhouse alone will account for approximately 140,000 vegetable transplants every year between February and May. That translates to 70,000 to 112,000 pounds of food valued at $140,000 to $224,000. 

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