GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (04/12/17) - Genesys Regional Medical Center is a place where people hope they grow healthier and it's also a place where they hope food and dreams will grow.
Genesys has set aside three-and-a-half acres on their Grand Blanc Township campus for farming. The site is called the Women in Agriculture Farm Development Center and it's designed to help women start their own businesses.
"It's beyond gardening even. We'll probably have two or three crops here as opposed to lots of different vegetables and things like that. This is about creating a commercial model that's sustainable so that the women who work here can support themselves and it becomes their career," said Nick Evans, Ascension vice president of business development.
Genesys donated the land for this project that is designed to support underserved women who are beginning a farming business. The women will receive education and resources to develop their own farm and become economically independent farm business owners.
Genesys partnered with Michigan Food and Farming Systems, Michigan State University and several other organizations to provide a place for women farmers to learn and grow their own crops.
Traditionally, women have not operated farms, but as many farmers are advancing in the years and are leaving their land, many women are showing interest in taking over and trying their hand at raising crops.
"Definitely if more women get involved, they can be successful. People are definitely more interested in buying locally, whether that's a restaurant or just a family down the road. They want to know where their food is coming from. They want to know their farmer," said Dana Voorheis, of Women in Agriculture.
What the women learn at the Genesys site could end up as fresh fruits and vegetables at a farmers market or produce stand near you.