Teaching Youth Through Urban Gardening

Teaching Youth Through Urban Gardening

The Minnis Family provides ag education to the community. The Minnis Family provides ag education to the community.

July 28, 2016

Tennessee recently held its annual Small Farm Expo, highlighting its diverse ag industry. Attendees included operators of several urban-based farms, including Mike and Karen Minnis.

The Minnis family runs a two-acre farm in inner-city Memphis, which was inspired by their son. "About 5 years ago, our son  wanted a garden after he finished his second tour in Iraq. We talked about it, and he brought a bunch of seeds. So, we set out and started planting them and writing down what we were doing and it worked," says Mike.  

Although the farm may be small, the family had challenges to overcome while starting. "When you’re in an urban setting and you’re in a low investment neighborhood you’ve got obstacles to deal with." He goes on to explain that their small farm operates in what some would refer to as a “food desert." "People don’t have immediate access to good nutritious food and as such don’t have particularly a great understanding of the benefits of healthy eating," Mike explains.

The family is also giving back to their community through an after school program called Knowledge Quest. They educate students about opportunities in the agriculture field and donate their harvest to the Community Food Pantry. Their hard work has paid off and has earned them the top prize at Tennessee's Small Farm Expo. 

Farming is a newfound passion for the family. Mike says, "We enjoy doing this. It’s not work, and I would recommend to anyone that as you go forward with your life's desires – make sure that you love what you're doing. When you're passionate about something it no longer becomes work: it’s just a way of life."         

The family's operation is called Landmark Training Development Company.

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