Northern Michigan kids can learn about agriculture and what it takes to grow Northern Michigan food at Grow Benzie in Benzonia. This Northern Michigan non-profit organization and farmstead works to educate adults and children alike about what healthy habits can lead to. With programs that educate the community on gardening, agriculture, business, cooking, and life skills, Grow Benzie has been doing ground-breaking work for seven years. And while many of their activities and programs center around job skills for adults, their kids program is continuing to grow with more and more activities happening each year. Northern Michigan kids can become involved with Grow Benzie by signing up online for workshops, visiting the farmers market, or heading over to the children’s greenhouse. Visit GrowBenzie.com for more information about this community driven project.
Cheryl Roth, a board member for Grow Benzie states that the mission of the company is complex. “It’s all about making the lives of people in Benzie County better. We focus on the things they can control, like health, nutrition, and eating right. We want to teach children where food comes from and how it’s good for their bodies. The other aspect is once you feel good…you can develop better life skills and job skills. We have an incubator kitchen that started last year where people can make a product that they can retail.” Skills like these are not only good for adults, but children as well. “We want to teach children about eating right because many children aren’t introduced to healthy eating in their homes.” Grow Benzie has partnered with schools around the area and is offering classroom visits by volunteers as well as an onsite greenhouse at Platte River Elementary.
The Children’s Greenhouse Workshop, held from mid July until August 18th is held each Monday, at 3 pm. At these workshops, kids head into the designated children’s greenhouse and learn about agriculture and gardening. These workshops are open to 12 participants with signup available online at GrowBenzie.com/education.
While the kitchen opened just last year, Roth states that they are hoping to get kids cooking programs up and running. “We want to move towards the direction of cooking with something like a Junior Chef Program. There is so much potential with what we’re doing.”
Grow Benzie is in need of volunteers to make programs like this happen. There are volunteer, sponsorship and donation opportunities available to sign up for at GrowBenzie.com/involved
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