Pingree Farms awarded a 2016 MSU Extension Key Partner Award
(The following was taken from the award ceremony program)
In 2010, Jim and Shelly Green, owners of Milton Manufacturing, wondered whether the mostly abandoned, dilapidated Detroit neighborhood around their factory could be put to better use.
They began purchasing the abandoned lots and tore down crumbling houses to create a large production garden. With the help of volunteers, they planted tomatoes, squash, corn, cucumbers and eggplants. The family welcomed the entire community to harvest produce free of charge.
Jim and Shelly’s children had been involved in 4-H, and they decided to add livestock to the farm. The children made Oakland Cont 4-H members aware of the farm. 4-H’ers seeking hands-on experience with livestock approached Jim about starting a club at the farm, and he welcomed the opportunity.
Youth in the Pingree 4-H Club participate in the program without charge. Pingree Farms and the Green family provide the livestock, supplies, and feed. They even give the young people apparel for animal care, and pay their 4-H participation fees and fair exhibitor fees. With Jim and Shelly’s support, the youth learn life skills while caring for animals and participating in the Oakland County Fair.
Last year, Jim met with staff of Milton Manufacturing and Pingree Farms, Education Achievement Authority administrators, and Wayne County MSU Extension staff to plan an expansion of programs at the farm. This collaboration and Jim’s vision led to an in-school program that offers 45 students from three schools the opportunity to gain life skills and learn animal husbandry as they care for rabbits, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, miniature cows, pigs, and ponies. May of the youth join the 4-H club and compete at the Wayne County Fair.
The Green family’s passion, commitment to agriculture, mission to make a difference in the community, and dedication to creating safe, hands-on learning opportunities for kids in Detroit is commendable. We recognize Jim and Shelly, and the Pingree Farms staff, for the vision to partner with MSU Extension in providing opportunities for youth. Congratulations on the MSU Extension Key Partner Award.