Growing Hope's Community Day to spotlight new executive director, offer free food and workshops

Ypsilanti-area residents are invited to Growing Hope's Community Day & Meet and Greet event from 3-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12 at 922 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsi. The event will include free food, workshops, kids' activities, and an opportunity to meet Growing Hope's new executive director. Growing Hope, a nonprofit, focuses on empowering people to grow, sell, buy, prepare, and eat nourishing food.

Julius Buzzard joined Growing Hope about a year ago as program director and was named executive director in early July. He says he came to Growing Hope because of his long-time interest in food access and environmental justice issues.

"I've always seen Growing Hope as an organization that works in those spaces to make generational changes," Buzzard says. "I always admired that Growing Hope was providing a scaffolding for the community to interact with and take hold of the food system in meaningful ways."

Buzzard says his vision for Growing Hope's future includes "creating more intentional spaces to amplify the voices of community members."

For instance, that might include recruiting community members to give in-person or virtual workshops on topics they're knowledgeable about. 

"Our workshops could spotlight community insight and expertise, and that doesn't always have to come from somebody on our staff," Buzzard says. "We're really intentionally thinking of ways to make our spaces more community-oriented."

He says he'd also like to deepen partnerships with neighbors near Growing Hope's urban farm and the nonprofit's downtown farmers market space, as well as strengthen recent collaborations with Peace House Ypsi and FedUp Ministries.

Attendees at the Aug. 12 event are also invited to make and bake pizzas in Growing Hope's stone oven, sample treats from local food businesses, and participate in children's activities that include a storytime with Black Men Read at 4 p.m.

More information about the event is available here.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Growing Hope.
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