Ypsilanti Township-based We the People Growers Association (WTPGA) will host its second annual Harvest Festival of Thanks from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Grace Fellowship Church House of Solutions, 1301 S. Harris Road in Ypsi Township.
"It's not about raising money or anything like that," says farmer and WTPGA founder Melvin Parson. "Although we've got a crowdfunding capital campaign we're doing, and we might make mention in passing, the event is just our way of saying thank you for making We the People what it was this season."
Parson founded WTPGA in 2015 with a vision of creating an urban farm that provides job opportunities to people who are reintegrating into the community after incarceration. The organic garden is located on a half-acre plot behind Grace Fellowship.
Parson says the organization's first harvest festival last year drew about 150 people, and he expects 200 or more this year. The event will feature a live jazz quintet, children's activities sponsored by Mentor 2 Youth and Riverside Arts Center, and an outdoor cooking demonstration. Free food will be provided by local restaurants and food businesses including Zingerman's Roadhouse, Frita Batidos, The Lunch Room, Detroit Street Filling Station, Sidetrack, and Ollie Food and Spirits.
Parson also expects to unveil a logo and an artist's rendition for his newly-formed nonprofit, We the People Opportunity Center. That project will be situated at the now-closed Charles F. Kettering Elementary school at 1633 Knowles St. in Ypsi Township. Parson says he is in the process of negotiating a long-term lease on the property for a new, larger garden.
RSVPs for the harvest festival are appreciated, but not required, by calling Parson at (734) 757-5067 or registering through the festival's Eventbrite page.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the interim project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She has served as innovation and jobs/development news writer for Concentrate since early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to Driven. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.