Challenge – Harsh Climate for Year-round Growing
Solution – GrowSpan Gothic Premium High Tunnel
Size – 116′ wide x 24′ long
Application – Urban Community Garden
Location – Detroit, Mich.
Tyson Gersh is a prime example of someone who is making a difference in his community every day. Gersh is the founder of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), a non-profit organization, which he created as a result of his time spent working as a Research Assistant for the Urban Community Oral Health Intervention Project. During this time, Tyson was witnessing major diet and nutrition concerns in single-mother, inner-city households and began actively researching ways that he could help.
Utilizing his landscaping background, Gersh started a community garden within Detroit that he hoped could at least provide healthy alternatives for city residents. What Gersh has since seen in the city has been amazing. “The community has really supported the urban farm. We are 100 percent volunteer driven, and a majority of the work is being done by local residents,” said Gersh. Gersh continued, “All the produce is free, and we are glad to finally be providing fresh, organic produce to the city of Detroit.”
Detroit, being one of the northern most cities in the U.S., provides a unique challenge for year-round crop production. Gersh was seeking a way to keep the garden going during the winter months, so Gersh sought out Growers Supply for the project. “Growers Supply is the biggest name in the industry, and I trusted them.” To Gersh’s surprise, other organizations were ecstatic about what he was providing for the city of Detroit and many made an effort to assist the initiative. “The Eisenhower Center, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, helps veterans recovering from traumatic brain injuries and donated the high tunnel along with former Detroit Lions Tight End Joseph Fauria,” said Gersh. The Eisenhower Center donated a 16′ wide by 24′ long GrowSpan Gothic Premium Tunnel to the MUFI, and the community got right to work.
The non-profit is now using the high tunnel to grow 20,700 transplants, of over 250 varieties, using a wire shelving system. Gersh loves his high tunnel, “It extends the growing season for us which is key, but the simplicity of the design along with its ability to generate heat with just a couple layers of plastic and a fan is amazing.” Gersh continued, “As a beginner myself, it’s very easy to set up and use and lent itself well to shelving.”
Gersh is a huge proponent of Growers Supply, “The National Account Managers are extremely helpful anytime I call in, and they know all the odds and ends of the products.” Gersh wanted to thank Growers Supply for giving him something to look forward to in the winter, “The high tunnel is great for the winter time, during which we often go 20 plus days without seeing any sun, let alone getting to do any growing, but now I can step into the high tunnel and do what I love year-round.”
For more on the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative and their Greenhouse, visit www.miufi.org.