Sustainable Agriculture Project announces new partnership with local community development organization

Employees from Nifty Hoops, New City Neighbors and volunteers from the Grand Valley community were on hand to help with the project.
A gothic-style hoophouse was erected at the Sustainable Agriculture Project. Employees from Nifty Hoops, New City Neighbors and volunteers from the Grand Valley community were on hand to help with the project. Angela Haan, president of the GVSU Farm Club, came to work on the installation.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills

Grand Valley's Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) has partnered with New City Neighbors to expand the educational farm. 

New City Neighbors, a local community development organization, will utilize 1 acre of agricultural land at the SAP for the project. The home base of New City Neighbors is a 1-acre urban farm in the Creston neighborhood of Grand Rapids, where high school students in the neighborhood can receive job and life skills training.

Earlier this year, New City Neighbors received news that the lease on a 3-acre urban farm in Grand Rapids could not be renewed. Crystal Scott-Tunstall, an affiliate professor of environmental and sustainability studies at Grand Valley and New City Neighbors board member, heard the news and saw an opportunity for the organization to work together with GVSU on a solution. 

Ricardo Tavárez, executive director of New City Neighbors, says the partnership will bolster the organization's mission of empowering young people. 

"We can now bring our diverse pool of high school students onto the campus of a local university, building relationships and on-ramps to higher education in the burgeoning field of environmental and sustainability studies at GVSU," said Tavárez.

On November 16, members of GVSU's Farm Club joined volunteers from New City Neighbors and the SAP in installing a high-tunnel greenhouse on the farm. The produce grown in this space will feed those in need.

A wide image of the frame of the hoophouse being erected.
Employees from Nifty Hoops, New City Neighbors and volunteers from the Grand Valley community were on hand to help with the project.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills
New City Neighbors and volunteers from the Grand Valley community were on hand to help with the project. Lance Kraai, with New City Neighbors, came to work on the installation.
Kendra Stanley-Mills
Employees from Nifty Hoops, New City Neighbors and volunteers from the Grand Valley community were on hand to help with the project.
Kendra Stanley-Mills

"We are so excited to grow alongside the New City Neighbors," said Yumiko Jakobcic, Office of Sustainability Practices director. "The SAP’s students will have the benefit of engaging with an on-site food justice organization, and the students with New City Neighbors will get to experience GVSU’s campus."

To learn more about the Sustainable Agriculture Project, visit gvsu.edu/sap.