FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – An urban farm in Flint is struggling after being hit by vandals multiple times.
Excitement was high for the farm when it first took root years ago.
“I initially came to Flint for a couple of weeks to see how I could help at the beginning of the water crisis,” Israel Unger said. “Then I was introduced to individuals that were interested in urban farming who brought me through the area and I got excited.”
Unger said he first leased 20 vacant lots from the Genesee County Land Bank, but later purchased the property. Since then, he’s connected with a nonprofit to grow the farm.
“It’s all for the community to improve it,” Unger said. “We invite people to help in what we are doing and if anyone wants produce, we have produce. We just want to grow it and be able to weigh what we have.”
Multiple hoop houses sit on the land that used to be occupied by vacant, burned out homes. But workers are finding it hard to keep up with the farming because of the constant vandalism.
“Being a nonprofit, we don’t make much money,” said Michael Sampson. “We spend more than what my paycheck is paying for tape to fix these hoop houses almost every day. It gets old, but we’re trying to make the community a better place.”
The farm grows fresh food, like tomatoes and kale, and sells it or donates it to the community. But cost of repairs from the vandalism is taking a bite out of the bottom line.
“In three months time, we’ve probably spent about $2,000 or $3,000 just in repairs on things that I have to fix daily,” said Sampson. “Whoever did it has a reason. I can’t help that, but I can try to show the community that we’re trying to do good.”
The farm has had to let go of workers to pay for repairs so they are in need of volunteers.
Click here to find out more about the Flint Farming Project.