FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Contact: Erica Shekell, Byrum & Fisk Communications, (517) 333-1606
Calhoun County Land Bank Sells Battle Creek Property to Sprout Urban Farms
CCLBA gives ownership to Sprout Urban Farms, longtime steward of the property
BATTLE CREEK — The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority announced today the sale of 245 Kendall Street North in Battle Creek to Sprout Urban Farms. Sprout Urban Farms, a nonprofit organization that works to bring healthful, affordable and fair food access to Battle Creek residents, has been leasing the two-acre property from the Land Bank for $1 per year since 2012 and will now take ownership of the property.
“The Land Bank is proud to support local organizations like Sprout Urban Farms that share our goals of neighborhood revitalization,” said Christine Schauer, Calhoun County Treasurer and Chairperson of the Calhoun County Land Bank. “Our original partnership with Sprout Urban Farms put this formerly blighted property back into productive use, and now their ownership of the property gives this organization the opportunity to spread its roots. We’re excited to sell this property to Sprout for one dollar so they may continue their important work to provide fresh food that improves the health and food security of residents.”
Sprout Urban Farms works to increase Battle Creek residents’ access to fresh, local and affordable food through its food hub, Farm 2 School program and farm stands. As a food hub, Sprout connects local restaurants and businesses to local farmers. Its Farm 2 School program provides fresh fruits and vegetables to local schools, teaches kids gardening skills and encourages active lifestyles. Sprout Urban Farms sells produce from its farm stands at 245 Kendall Street North, the Battle Creek Farmers Market and the Springfield Farmers Market.
“We’re thankful for this partnership with the Land Bank, which enables us to revitalize Battle Creek through community gardening and stimulate local economic development through our contributions to the local food economy,” said Jeremy Andrews, Executive Director of Sprout Urban Farms. “Our organization brings fresh, healthy food to local schools, businesses and Battle Creek residents. We were able to take root, in part, thanks to the Land Bank, and we’re excited to continue growing our organization and farm, both literally and figuratively.”
Sprout Urban Farms began in 2009 as a series of community forums between Andrews and Battle Creek residents who were interested in starting a community garden. In 2012, Sprout approached the Land Bank about leasing this property to create the first youth-run urban farm in Battle Creek. This site became available after the Land Bank demolished the blighted Bright Star Faith Temple that was originally located here. Sprout renamed the site Bright Star Farm after it began leasing it. This agreement with the Land Bank enabled Sprout to begin farming the land and selling produce at local farmers markets, local restaurants and its mobile market called Fresh on Wheels.
For more information about Sprout Urban Farms, visit sproutbc.org.
The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority is a separate legal authority that collaborates closely with the Calhoun County Treasurer and local municipalities to eliminate blight, improve downtowns and promote local economic development.