Category Archives: Marquette

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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Filed under Environmental Education, Gardening, green living, Marquette

Gifts from Nature: Mid City Gem, by Kevin McGrath

I am torn about writing the following, as the low number of people that use the area I’m about to describe is one reason it’s such a gem.  We are often confronted with this catch-22 in the U.P., which has many treasured local spots we might hope to keep to ourselves.  This selfishness is unhealthy and far too prevalent in current society.  The Native American concept of un-ownable land makes good sense, allowing everyone to share in its abundance.

So I’m going ahead and sharing information on one of my favorite hiking and cross-country ski trails which is hidden in plain sight – the Fit Strip, a half-mile by half-mile plot of land bordering Park Cemetery.  On a first-of-spring jaunt through this easy, meandering trail winding past stunning white pines and other conifers, maples and birch, a jogger approached. He pointed and asked whether I saw the red fox grazing just fifty feet off the path.  We both stopped and enjoyed the view for a moment before this sleek critter with a white patch on the tip of its full tail slipped back into denser thicket.

The park is home to an array of four-legged foragers, including deer, skunk, raccoon, squirrel, chipmunk, and mouse.  I’m always pleasantly surprised when I venture into this woodsy park.  Nearly every year brings a new and exciting sighting. Once while traversing the soft wood chip trail, I turned a sharp corner and spotted a great horned owl a mere twenty feet away, busily devouring a chippy or mouse.  He seemed perturbed by my sudden appearance, yet determined to finish his delectable meal.  I stopped quickly and slowly backed away around the same corner so I could watch him without triggering his early departure. He turned his head toward me with an intensely fierce stare that penetrated my being, and then continued shredding the helpless rodent.

Several years ago, a six-hundred pound moose yearling wandered into this forest haven and claimed it as home.  Park Cemetery offers three beautiful ponds filled with water lilies, so this massive adolescent would sleep in the fit strip, forage, and then go to the pond to drink and feast.  At first a handful of us watched his every move. Then the crowds grew each week until finally, after several months, hundreds would await his timely arrival. This gentle giant had to navigate through the crowds three times a day, causing concern from local authorities about possible danger.

These crowds are not what I am seeking, but if you are looking for a close-to-home, nature-filled, peaceful adventure, this mid-city gem is worth the trip.  It offers entrance from every side and trails that wind gracefully through a gently sloped city forest of endless nature-watching possibilities.

To contact Kevin McGrath, see-male him hiking about enjoying the great outdoors.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Spring 2014 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Gifts from Nature, Kevin McGrath, Marquette, Nature

Tale of a Tripod, J. Magli, NHC

This is the story of Cailynn, a three-legged dog. I hope it will give you a better understanding of special needs pets and what a wonderful addition they can be to any family. Lots of animals in shelters are overlooked , just as four-legged pets can. You just need a little more thought, consideration, love and devotion before adopting.
 

Tripods are dogs that have had a limb amputated. This can be due to cancer, as a result of severe injury to a limb, or a birth defect that makes the leg nonfunctional. Tripods are often viewed as pitiful and their care automatically considered a burden. However, complications of amputations are rare and most tripods not only adapt quickly to life on three legs, but also thrive. Some need a little help. Others don’t really want any help. But with extra patience, devotion, time and lots of love, a tripod can have a happy life. 

A few years ago, after many years of adopting physically and mentally abused or neglected animals, (mainly dogs and cats), we decided to adopt again. We already had two dogs, (one was severely abused), and two cats. All came from a shelter or a rescue. I happened across a young dog with which I connected instantly. She’d been abused and then hit by a car, resulting in the loss of her right front leg, all within her first six months of life. She was fostered and then adopted by a wonderful family. Due to a conflict with other pets, it was decided that Cailynn needed a different home. After the family interviewed me, I brought her home. She is the epitome of joy and happiness and reinforces for us daily how every moment should be lived to its fullest potential. She seems totally unaware that she only has three legs! She runs, plays and lives just like our other dogs do. She just has to rest more often. 

Some special considerations should be made regarding caring for a tripod. A lot depends on the circumstances around the loss of limb and what, if any, health issues are in play. Careful consideration must be factored into the overall regimen for the animal. Always start with a quality holistic dog food. Supplementing the diet with quality fish oil and glucosamine HCL will reduce inflammation and help maintain flexibility.

Sometimes tripods have trouble navigating stairs or smooth tile, so non-skid surfaces are needed. Lifting the animal in and out of a car is recommended to avoid additional injuries. Check footpads for cracking, cuts and abrasions, and address by applying a balm when needed. Keep toenails trimmed to avoid tripping. Exercise regularly but at a minimum to avoid overdoing it. Elevating the food dish can reduce strain on the other legs at feeding time.

There are many products on the market to help make a tripod’s life more manageable, like stairs or ramps, lifts, harnesses, slings, etc. There are support groups, forums and health tips geared towards tripods both online and in some communities.

I hope if you’re considering adopting a tripod, or are faced with a decision of amputation for your own pet, that you’ll remember there’s much love and life in these special animals. They will warm your hearts with their focus on life rather than limitations.

Cailynn is a joy to have in our family. We feel very blessed she chose us to teach and remind daily that life really is what WE make of it, and we’d better have fun too!

Jenny Magli is a natural health consultant for pets and their people. She lives in the Upper Peninsula with her husband Bill and five clowns (three dogs and two cats). She is available for consultations and presentations and can be reached at (906) 439-5489 or 1healthlink@gmail.com.

 Reprinted from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine’s Spring 2011 Issue. 

 

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Filed under Holistic Animal Care, Jenny Magli, Marquette, Tripod Care