Healing the Fractured Child, by Fran S. Waters, DCSW, LMSW, LMFT

In the mid-1980s, I had been treating for over a year, Eliza, an 8-year-old adopted girl who had been severely abused by her biological parents. In spite of her caring adoptive parents, Eliza was not making progress. One day, she walked into my familiar office at the local mental health center (now called Pathways), looked around at the bookshelves full of toys and books, and inquired what they were. I was stunned!

Serendipitously, a few months earlier, the clinic’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lu Kuhnhoff, who had just returned from a conference sponsored by the International Society for the Study of Dissociative Disorders, provided an in-service to a group of us interested clinicians. Dr. Kuhnhoff described signs of dissociation, including memory and identity disturbances, auditory and visual hallucinations, and a loss of consciousness (awareness). At this time, I had been specializing in treatment of sexually-abused children. I naively thought to myself that perhaps I would see one case with dissociation in my lifetime. Little did I understand that dissociation is a primitive, biological, automatic defense mechanism derived from reptiles and continued up the evolutionary chain to us mammals. Dissociation is activated when a child is faced with overwhelming fear when being abused or encountering other forms of trauma (e.g. painful medical procedures and illness), and when fighting and fleeing is simply impossible. In order to survive the frightening experience, the child segments off the horrifying event(s) from his or her consciousness as a way of escaping mentally when there is no actual way to escape.

Like other forms of mental conditions, there are different degrees of dissociation, such as: spacing out; amnesia to past traumatic events; distortion in environment in which things seem unreal or viewed through a tunnel; when the body feels numb or disconnected from self; or the child experiences a separation within the self with different identities, feelings, memories, behaviors and relationship preferences that influence the child or may take control of the body and present differently to others, as seen in Dissociative Identity Disorder-DID (formerly termed Multiple Personality Disorder). It is important to understand that those with DID are still one person with different states of consciousness or awareness. In my book Healing the Fractured Child: Diagnosing and Treating Youth with \Dissociation, I explain more thoroughly the ways dissociative symptoms can be expressed in numerous clinical cases.

Generally, traumatized children with dissociation can present with a myriad of symptoms due to shifting parts of themselves that become triggered by reminders of past traumas, e.g., smells, sights, sounds, touch. They can rapidly shift from being happy to sad to raging, and display aberrant behavior in which amnesia may be present. They can exhibit dramatic shifts in their abilities with activities such as schoolwork and sports, and in their preferences in food, dress, activities, and more. They can demonstrate severe attachment or relationship impairment due to a lack of trust and separate parts of the self not having a connection to their caregivers. These children can one moment seek out the parent and the next moment attack the parent. They often have severe attention problems marked by poor concentration and focus due to intrusive traumatic memories, or voices and images experienced in their mind that disrupt their ability to focus. They can exhibit aggressive behavior for which they have no memory, and therefore deny such behavior. Consequently, they are frequently viewed as liars. These changing moods and behaviors can confound caretakers and teachers.

I received a call from a grade school principal who told me Ryan, a 9-year-old boy (Waters, 2015) who’d been sexually abused, had turned around and suddenly hit a girl in line. When the principal witnessed this and confronted Ryan, he adamantly denied it, collapsing to the floor wailing. However, in this case, the astute principal related to me that Ryan really did not know he had done it. I knew Ryan depersonalized from his lower body since he was completely unaware of his chronic soiling problem. However, I did not know he had a more severe form of dissociation until this phone call. Upon further exploration, he, like Eliza, revealed hearing voices and seeing in his mind a separate identity that was a protector who hit the little girl who had unexpectedly knocked into him.

These traumatized, dissociative children can often receive more commonly recognized diagnoses, such as psychosis due to hallucinations, bipolar disorder due to extreme mood swings, attention deficit disorder due to poor focus, oppositional or conduct disorders due to their disruptive behavior. Unfortunately, while they have an abuse history, post-traumatic stress and dissociative disorders are often overlooked as the source of their symptoms.

Effectively parenting these children can be a daunting task. Porges (2011), who has studied how we respond to threat, discovered the crucial role of voice and eyes in fostering communication and bonding between parents and children. Porges noted that the mylenated vagal nerve, which regulates social engagement and goes from the heart to the ears and from the heart to the eyes, makes us very sensitive to loud, low sounds and angry eyes. We become threatened and our survival response system activates, causing us to disengage from the person by fighting, fleeing or freezing (a dissociative response). Therefore, Porges stresses that keeping your voice modulated and eyes warm can keep others engaged-a crucial strategy for parents to maintain a connection with their distraught child.

While it is challenging to raise a dissociative child, parents or caretakers can have a profound impact on helping their child heal. Their understanding, love, patience, and acceptance of all parts of their child provide the foundation for the child to progress in specialized treatment of his or her traumatic past and dissociation to become an integrated child. Having had the privilege of working in partnership with such parents to see their children transform into healthy, happy individuals, I can tell you the rewards of their helping their child heal are worth it!

Fran Waters is the author of Healing the fractured child: Diagnosis and treatment of youth with dissociation. She is the past president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD). She maintains a private practice in Marquette, MI.

Porges, S. (2011). The polyvagal theory: Neurophysiological foundations of emotions, attachment, communication and self-regulation. New York: W.W. Norton.
Waters, F. S. (2nd, 2015). Ryan (8 to 10 years old) –Connecting with the body: Treatment of somatoform dissociation (encopresis and multiple physical complaints). In Wieland, S. (Ed.), Dissociation in traumatized children and adolescents: Theory and clinical interventions (2nd ed.; pp.135-190). New York: Routledge.

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2016-2017 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine.

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New Issue Out!

The Winter 2016 – 2017 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine is out and bursting with helpful information on Sleep, Self-Care, Holiday Gift-Giving, Green Living, Positive Parenting, Services for Elders, Pet Safety and much more!

We are also excited to announced the recipient of our 2016 donation – Partridge Creek Farm’s Children’s Programming! You can learn all about this non-profit organization in our leading article and previous post!

To find out where you can pick up a copy of this latest issue, click here.

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Partridge Creek Farm: Taking a Bite Out of Our Challenges

If there’s one basic need most of us enjoy satisfying, it is for food. And the fresher and healthier that food is, the better off we’ll be. For most us here in the U.S., our food is shipped in, often from across the country and even across the globe, and we purchase it in supermarkets by the box and bag-full, some of which has added ingredients and processing we know little about.

While the number of small, community-supported farms in the Upper Peninsula supplying fresh, quality produce is growing, there’s still much room for improvement. Food security is an issue here, with the U.P.’s harsh climate and shorter growing season, longer distances for rural residents to large supermarkets with affordable fresh produce, and one-quarter of our children living in poverty (KIDS COUNT, 2016). In fact, our area has a significantly higher than average rate of obesity, diabetes, substance abuse and poverty. All of these issues point to the need for better health-physically, emotionally, and economically.

Partridge Creek Farm (PCF) aims to address this. Founder and director Dan Perkins describes, “Partridge Creek Farm is a community organization working on social issues through the backdrop of a farm.” The non-profit organization not only aims to increase local access to fresh, affordable, healthy food, but also to help us connect back to its importance both nutritionally and socially, teaching how to grow it in our challenging climate, and also how to prepare and preserve it. PCF intends to “invite the culture at large back in, especially those who’ve been disenfranchised, trapped, isolated.”

Perkins believes it’s vital for people to connect with one another and with the land, and that farming can help accomplish this. “Agrarian community is built into our genetics. It’s very odd for us to be separated from that part of our genetic make-up. This has only happened in the last few generations, and we’re experiencing the fall-out health-wise and socially to be disconnected from this part of our make-up,” he explains.

Ten years ago, Perkins began engaging kids in his neighborhood while gardening in the yard behind his property, and sending them home with bags of food. This led to forming Partridge Creek Farm. “I just thought it was a great model for doing social work at zero cost to the taxpayer.”

But the potential benefits are greater even than Perkins had thought. He says MBA Jessica Glendon’s research for PCF’s business plan revealed “If you live in a low-access food zone, which Ishpeming and western Marquette County are, or a low income area, you have a much higher risk of being diabetic, obese or drug addicted. That risk level goes within 5% difference throughout the rest of the community. ‘You mean my kids have just as much chance of becoming addicted as those of that drug addict down the street?’ Yes. Conditions in your community have an equal effect on everybody.”

“It blew my head open! This means we’re not just doing this for the poor people in our community, we’re doing this for our own self-preservation! It’s for our own children and our grandchildren. If we don’t fix our problems as a whole, then we’re all going to suffer the consequences. . . If we all work together, we’ll be a whole lot better off.”

Partridge Creek Farm is collaborating with AMCAB and the Headstart staff to engage kids and their families in the growing, preparing and consumption of local foods. PCF also ran a program with very young children at the Carnegie Library’s summer reading sessions painting word stones pertaining to growing food and placing them in the PCF Incubator Garden nearby.  Children from Michigamme Youth Services Camp worked hard weeding and spreading horse manure at PCF. Youth from the KBIC received worm castings and support in preparing a garden from PCF.

This winter, PCF will continue working with students in an Ishpeming High School Life Skills class on an indoor growing project. Next year, these students will mentor 200 fifth and sixth graders, passing on their agricultural skills and building common bonds. PCF is working with Great Lakes Recovery Center’s youth on a courtyard garden program, adding lots of compost this winter for full-scale growing in spring. Preparations have also been made for maple tree tapping with them this spring.

PCF was able to quadruple its food production this year, offering it at local farmer’s markets while educating the public about its mission. Perkins credits PCF’s successful headway thus far to the dedication and high-level research of Farm Manager and scientist Ray Bush; great mentorship, research and work ethic from PCF’s first group of NMU interns; a strong community volunteer base; and significant financial support from the Western Marquette County Health Foundation, Green Mountain Foundation of Vermont, and many individual donations, PCF memberships and business sponsors.

The Ishpeming Elks Lodge has offered some of its land by Partridge Creek as a growing area for PCF, and Bruce and Cathy Houghton of Ishpeming have even offered PCF the use of their apple orchard next to Lake Angeline by $1/year long-term lease. PCF will maintain and use the orchard for its programs.

But there is much more that PCF intends to do. Right now the organization is looking to secure land near the Ishpeming schools where greenhouses can be built so growing with student involvement can go on all year. More staff is needed—a community outreach and volunteer coordinator, a business manager to manage its grant budgets and pay vendors, and an educational coordinator.

Perkins adds, “As we grow, we’ll need other locations as well. We want to address the food and social issues of our entire region.”

More volunteers are always welcome, as well as more corporate and individual sponsorships and new members. For more information, visit http://www.partridgecreekfarm.org or contact Dan Perkins at (906) 361-6628 or Ray Bush at (906) 204-5442.

*Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine is pleased to announce that its 2016 donation will go to Partridge Creek Farm’s children’s programming.

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2016 – 2017 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine.

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Being “WELL-thy”

hh-37-cover-g9,500 copies of Health & Happiness’s Fall 2016 issue have been distributed in SEVEN U.P. counties!

It’s jam-packed with informative, insightful articles related to “Being ‘WELL-thy’.”

Check our Distribution page to find out where you can pick up a copy near you!

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Special Feature: Summer Fun in the West End

Summer’s long, warm days are worth the wait through winter, delighting us with time to linger with loved ones, do more of the things we enjoy, and explore new ones too. It’s an ideal time to enjoy western Marquette County’s growing number of hidden gems. And if the passion of small business owners for their chosen vocation is any indication of the fun to be had there, you’re in for quite a treat!

David Aeh of Main Street Antique Mall got the antiquing bug early on, going with his babysitter to garage sales where he made purchases because he couldn’t resist a good deal, and began buying more frequently as an adult. David explains, “If I hadn’t gotten into the business, I’d be on The Hoarder’s Show now. The Collector: Lower Harbor Antiques (a multi-dealer antiques mall in Marquette) where I had a retail space, became my enabler.”

After The Collector closed in 2003, David opened his own multi-dealer mall. There were no similar businesses around then and David knew many avid antique-ers appreciate being able to sell their goods without having to be in or run a shop . He located on the corner of Main and Pearl in Ishpeming because of the tourist-related economy, to be near other antiques businesses, and to help support the community. As David explains, “Half or more of businesses’ cash flow here comes from tourism. People come to my store as a destination, not by happenstance, so paying for higher-priced real estate elsewhere wouldn’t necessarily lead to higher cash flow.” David also believes “Antiques are better presented in a beautiful, historic setting rather than a boring, mundane, modern setting.”

With over 40 dealers in 8,000-plus square feet, there are treasure hunting opportunities galore, and great reasons to take advantage of them. As David clarifies, “Shopping vintage is shopping smart for the planet and your pocketbook.”

Bill Carter at Ishpeming’s First Street Antiques also values antiquing as a way of recycling. He notes, “It made it this far! In today’s society, everything’s disposable. People buy a $600 phone; months later a new $600 phone comes out, and they’re saving for that one now.”

Bill’s been antiquing for over thirty years. He returned to the area a few years ago, drawn by his family roots and his faith. He says, “I meet lots of interesting and good people. A variety of tourists come, and the rent’s affordable here.” First Antiques carries a wide variety of items, providing many opportunities for repurposing.

Just a block down the street is Sell’s Antiques. Owner Gary Sell, who opened the business in December, 2015, has already expanded into a second storefront two doors down to make room for furniture and larger pieces. Gary got his start “rescuing things,” well-made items that were going to be thrown out, and filling his basement with them. He includes newer items at his store too. “If it’s cool looking, I’ll get it,” Gary explains.

Gary spends about a third of his time purchasing inventory, making a point to seek out items collected and requested by his customers. He says, “I try to give a good deal so people come back. Then I can get new things for the store.” Gary displays his ever-changing merchandise carefully, making sure to have items of interest to both men and women.

An even newer newcomer to the Ishpeming antiquing scene is Susie Q’s on Main and Pearl, diagonally across from Main Street Antiques Mall. Proprietor Sue Lane has stocked it full of antiques, decorating, fishing, sporting and garden items, vintage clothing, jewelry – also a mix of old and new. She loves the big storefront windows here, and being part of the growing group of antiques-related shops.

As a child, Sue often went to rummage sales and antique shops with her mother, and has focused on buying and reselling since retiring. She enjoys visiting with the customers, and her eyes light up when describing “the thrill of the hunt,” and the fun she has buying items she believes others will appreciate buying at an affordable price.

Just a few blocks over on Cleveland Avenue stands the classy, newly restored and refurbished Gossard Building. Now in the National and Michigan State Registries of Historic Buildings, the Gossard was once home to an early 20th century department store, a women’s corset factory, and later the Pioneer Square shopping mall. Today, renewed by owners Paul and Sandy Arsenault, it houses 15 separate shops and offices, while also showcasing its history with special wall displays prepared by Sandy.

The first of these is a tribute to the hundreds of women who once worked in the factory. Discarded original metal patterns bear the names of the many women who’d worked there, a ground-breaking phenomenon for the times. Sandy says, “It’s been really touching how families come in just to see their loved one’s name on the wall. We even had a 103-year-old lady visit who’d worked here in the early ‘40s.”

You can learn more about area history at the Ishpeming Historical Society and Museum, up on the third floor, as well as check out U.P.-focused merchandise on the first floor at Yooper Shirts.

The Gossard’s history has also inspired a series of mixed media collages by artist/tenant Renee Michaud, which include Gossard artifacts, such as fabric, thread and needles. Renee describes herself as an ambassador to the Gossard, sharing its story as she exhibits her art nationwide. “I just love this building,” she says, “and getting to tell other people across the country about it.”

Renee’s studio, The Nook & Cranny, houses her collages, jewelry and hand-dyed silk scarves, as well as Marc Himes’ wood-turnings and Renee Himes’ fiber art. Both she and fellow artist/tenant Kate LaFave, proprietor of Re: Home and Re: Home Boxcar’s artfully repurposed items, offer a variety of art classes at the Gossard. Check their Facebook pages for store hours and class schedules.

Art classes such as “wine and canvas” evenings and scarf dyeing can also be found at Earthly Treasures, within Ishpeming’s Globe Printing on Division Street. Earthly Treasures also displays some of the abundant creative output of talented local jewelers, painters and craftspeople that’s for sale. Proprietor Stacey Willey notes that changes in printing technology have given her the building space for these activities. Stacey enjoys welcoming the people who stop by, and the supportiveness of the local business community.

And there are more creative happenings at Joy Center, a sanctuary for the imagination nestled in a residential area on Ishpeming’s west side. Founder Helen Haskell Remien says, “All are welcome in this safe beautiful space where you can offer and/or participate in all kinds of workshops and events – from art and writing workshops to open mic and movie nights, to energy healing, yoga and dance sessions, to music and poetry performances – that stretch your boundaries and uplift your spirit. It is a place where joy stands center stage.”

And yes, still more art and crafty classes are offered at Rare Earth Goods, down the street from Earthly Treasures on Division. Owner Pam Perkins began carrying works from eight artists along with some grocery items four years ago, gradually expanding to approximately 140 artists’ work, aisles of food, and more. Now Rare Earth Goods is known for its vast quality beer and wine selection, Fair Trade clothing, and café, which has just extended its hours to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For more ingredients to create your own summer fare, head to Smokehouse Glenn’s/ U.P. Oils & Vinegars in Ishpeming’s Country Village complex on 41 West. Owner Glenn Andrews puts his 45-plus years of experience to work making top-quality homemade sausages, snack sticks, jerky, and custom cuts of meat. At any given time, 8 – 10 different kinds of bratwurst, plus 8 – 10 types of other sausages are available fresh and ready to go. If you’d rather make your own, you can pick up all your ingredients here too, along with master tips from Glenn. “I like passing my knowledge and experience on to others; it’s fun!” says Glenn.

53 flavors of quality oils and vinegars are also available, along with a tasting bar to pick out favorites for your summer salads. You can even get tips on using special vinegars as a surprise ingredient, such as raspberry balsamic vinegar in brownies, and lemon balsamic in polenta.

Ready for a beer after all this shopping? Jasper Ridge Brewery is steps away in the Country Village complex. General manager Pat Beyer says, “Golden Wheat is our #1.” He notes how the public’s tastes have changed over time, leading to a resurgence in brewery popularity. Jasper Ridge survived its challenging early days, when most wouldn’t drink an IPA, and celebrates its 20th anniversary this fall. Pat credits the busy tourist trade, with the nearby network of mountain biking trails bringing more and more out-of-state visitors, loyal local beer drinkers, and a series of talented head brewers as crucial to Jasper Ridge Brewery’s success.

Though fellow Ishpeming microbrewery Cognition is only a year old, it also has history on its side. Cognition is housed on the street level of the old Mather Inn in what was originally a locker room for workers, becoming a tap room after Prohibition ended where all the actors who were part of filming Anatomy of a Murder hung out in the late ’50s.

Cognition’s owner Jay Clancey, having a relative who mapped out all of Ishpeming’s streets in the 1870’s, and three Ishpeming-born grandparents, believes “It’s kind of my destiny to do something like this here.” He adds, “It’s a fun business, and my big hope in starting it was to help revitalize the downtown.” Jay credits growing awareness of Ishpeming’s central location to a huge network of bike trails as a positive influence too, and has bike trail maps and information available for visitors. With several landmarks nearby in the National Registry of Historic Buildings, a number of historic rides will start off from Cognition this summer.

Jay also had the foresight to bring in Brian Richards as Cognition’s head brewer. Brian began home brewing over 15 years ago, pouring all his spare time into learning, and later also advising other home brewers. Brian says, “I love the creative freedom I have here. Beyond two or three staples, I can brew whatever I want. It’s therapeutic.” His passion turns into a dozen different beers on tap, with additional types in the cooler, a lot for an establishment of its size.

History is also in the details and personal stories, as Colleen Aho, owner of Kate’s Collectibles on 41 East in Negaunee, knows well. Colleen is an avid researcher, finding out everything she can about the many varied items in her shop, and imparting this knowledge to her customers. Colleen and her late husband bought an old oak secretary with their wedding money after marrying, and then began collecting and learning more and more about antiques and collectibles. Colleen knows the importance of the emotional connections customers have with the items she carries, and the memories they trigger of parents, grandparents, and their own early years. Colleen explains, “Antiques should be a joy and bring a happy feeling. That’s what it’s about, not the ‘value’!”

Next door at Birdcage Antiques & Eclectic Décor’s Negaunee location, you can see the results of another marriage-long hobby turning into a business. Owners Pat and Dick Hennessy are so enthusiastic about collecting and repurposing that they have a second Birdcage location in Marquette’s Karen Larson Interior Design Showroom, and also own Lowenstein’s Marketplace, packed with a wide range of items from multiple dealers on three levels of a 1916 downtown Negaunee department store.

Pat finds the business constantly exciting, explaining, “Every day is different.” She also appreciates the value of “repurposing rather than chopping down a tree.”

Speaking of repurposing, downtown Negaunee’s Old Bank Building will now include the relocated City Green Market with antique shopping areas under its generous roof. Arranged so you can easily zip in and out for the organic, natural, Fair Trade and vegan goods you need on a busy day, or grab a coffee and meander through the building when you have more time, you’ll discover plenty to appreciate here.

Multi-business owner Jeff Plummer is enthusiastic about creating an old-style mercantile vibe in one of the wings, with a gas fireplace and antiques mixed in with the coffee, chocolate, camping and hardware odds-and-ends available for purchase. Items such as Bronner’s soap, RV and septic-friendly toilet paper, and vegan marshmallows have been very popular with tourists at Old Bank Building Antique Shops, and Jeff will now be able to provide for more of their and local residents’ needs. An antiques collector since his early days, Jeff says he’s bringing all his favorite business aspects together under one roof to form “my kind of dream place to go while I’m vacationing.”

Across from the Old Bank Building is the newly opened 340 Antiques & Eclectic Décor. Proprietor Lynndee Hanson is delighted to offer a homey, warm atmosphere with a great variety of unique items from many who’d been dealers at the Old Bank Building before City Green Market’s relocation, and others. 340’s exposed brick wall, gas fireplace, and one-level accessibility, with a handicapped parking spot in front, make it a welcoming place, very important to retired special education teacher Lynndee. She says many locals familiar with the building’s earlier usage – the Hillbilly bar, a dance studio, attorney’s office, custom printing studio and thrift shop, are excited to discover its new incarnation.

If all the shopping has gotten you hungry, (or even if it hasn’t), be sure to stop in to Midtown Bakery & Café, where owner Marybeth Kurtz is preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The delicious baked goods and lunches prepared by Marybeth, a former pastry chef for an upscale seafood restaurant, and her staff of eight, and the casual, colorful atmosphere are key to its success. Marybeth says, “Customers know they can sit, and hang out, and eat, and drink, and have fun here.”

A mid-June renovation will help meet the demand for more seating, further supporting the relationships Marybeth has formed here. She explains, “I love the people, their warmth and acceptance. High school students come in saying ‘It’s the cookie lady!’ because they’ve been coming here since they were toddlers. When my customers are laughing and having a good time, it makes my heart sing.”

You can also enjoy relaxing and socializing across the street at Panache Events, Décor & Boutique. Owner Janice Chittler says she loves having women come in and socialize with their girlfriends, whether they’re buying anything or not. But you just might want to buy – she stocks handmade clothes you won’t find anywhere else in the U.P., most made by Michigan moms working from home. Janice’s creativity also pours into the painting parties, craft and art classes she offers for both children and adults, and the decorating, coordinating and rental items she provides for events such as weddings and theme parties. She loves creating with her clients, and getting kids excited about art. You can check the current schedule of activities at her Facebook pages – Panache Boutique and Panache: Events, Décor & Boutique, LLC.

Reprinted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Summer 2016 issue.

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Summer Fun Issue On Its Way!

Want to get ready for the Big Lake this summer? Discover the hidden gems of Marquette County’s West End? Get a handle on your personal energy field and its impact on your life? Discover the benefits of basil (for you) and clay (for your dog)? Get a quick take fairs and festivals coming up?

Grab a copy of Health & Happiness’s Summer Fun issue for all this and more! 9,5000 copies are being distributed in 6 U.P. counties over the next week. Click here to find out where to pick up your FREE copy!

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What Is . . . . Marquette Growth?

More and more we hear about the lack of understanding of the connection between our food and where it comes from, but how many of us are actually doing something about it?

In 2012, a group of friends asked each other what they’d do for our community if they had a million dollars, and realized they all wanted to empower the community’s ability to grow food. This led to the creation of Marquette Growth. Marquette Growth is a non-profit community garden initiative aimed at providing access to free, healthy, organic, growing sites and education for the community, with a focus on getting food from farm to school.

As Vice President Scott Lawrence describes, “We heard the same reasons over and over for why people don’t take responsibility for a portion of their food—no time, space, money, or education. We realized a free educational community garden group was the answer, where people can donate time for fresh produce.”

It took months of sustained effort for group members Tyler Phillips, Jess Zerbel, Miriah Redmond and Scott Lawrence to find a place to start the program. Thankfully, Marquette Alternative High School Principal Andrew Crunkleton believed in their vision and work began on the hoop house at Graveraet, where the school was located at the time.

Lawrence also began a Kickstarter Fund in 2013, which raised $2500 to start a food forest of fruit trees and other perennials, plus annual garden beds at Vandenboom Alternative High School. Marquette Growth facilitated a full day of gardening workshops leading up to the actual planting of the trees and other perennials, which was accompanied by live music. Annual gardens were also planted, which the students help maintain.

Since then smaller sites have also been established, including at Cherry Creek Senior Living, behind the Wild Rover, Ore Dock Brewery, Sandy Knoll Elementary, Black Rocks Brewery, Teaching Family Homes and Sweet Water Café, with items such as sunflowers, a mint garden or fruit tree.

Lawrence explains, “The hoop house is open to all community members, young or old. We like the way that gardening connects all walks of life. We all eat. Why not eat the best quality food? We are happiest seeing young working next to old, poor working next to wealthy. We want to bridge the gaps of our community through growing high quality food. And get kids excited about growing their own food, or at least give them the knowledge of where their food comes from.”

At Gravaeret Elementary, students have access to hands-on agricultural education through the school garden from seed to fork. They help as much as possible in the hoop house, which is watered, planted and maintained solely by volunteers, and their garden produce is implemented in school lunch options. “Last year’s 4th graders even sold seeds and seedlings to raise funds for a field trip to MSU North Farm as part of an educational unit Marquette Growth ran in partnership with MSU Extension, Marquette Food Co-op, Transition Marquette, and the school district. Students toured the farm, seeing how the transplants used in the school garden were started, and saving seeds from these and other plants,” describes member Miriah Redmond.

Marquette Growth would like to help establish hoop houses at all of Marquette’s public schools. Once approval is obtained, the group will seek funding. Already, “hundreds of pounds of food, lots of enlightened/educated community members, and tons of new relationships have been created,” describes Lawrence. He’s passionate about the need for this initiative, explaining, “We are at the end of the food delivery routes. Major grocery stores only have enough food to support our community for two to three days. If fossil fuels seize to exist, so will our food. We need to work together to build a food sovereign community. Younger generations need to be educated on these matters to encourage them to take responsibility for a portion of their own food. Together, we can build a more resilient community. Spread the word of Marquette Growth, get people excited about growing food and bridge any gap in existence to get us all working together.”

New helpers are welcome to join Wednesday work nights at Gravaeret Elementary, as well as additional open hoop house hours, various workshops, and Facebook.com/groups/marquettegrowth. The initiative can also be supported by financial contributions through Paypal by contacting mqtgrowth@gmail.com.

Reprinted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Spring 2016 issue.

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