Jim and Shelly Green
In 2010, Jim and Shelly Green, owners of Milton Manufacturing, wondered whether
the mostly abandoned, dilapidated Detroit neighborhood around their factory could
be put to better use.
They began purchasing the abandoned lots and tore down crumbling houses
to create a large production garden. With the help of volunteers, they planted
tomatoes, squash, corn, cucumbers, and eggplants. The family welcomed the entire
community to harvest produce free of charge.
Jim and Shelly’s children had been involved in 4-H, and they decided to add
livestock to the farm. The children made Oakland County 4-H members aware
of the farm. 4-H’ers seeking hands-on experience with livestock approached Jim
about starting a club at the farm, and he welcomed the opportunity.
Youth in the Pingree 4-H Club participate in the program without charge. Pingree
Farms and the Green family provide the livestock, supplies, and feed. They even
give the young people apparel for animal care, and pay their 4-H participation fees
and fair exhibitor fees. With Jim and Shelly’s support, the youth learn life skills while
caring for animals and participating in the Oakland County Fair.
Last year, Jim met with staff of Milton Manufacturing and Pingree Farms,
Educational Achievement Authority administrators, and Wayne County MSU
Extension staff to plan an expansion of programs at the farm. This collaboration
and Jim’s vision led to an in-school program that offers 45 students from three
schools the opportunity to gain life skills and learn animal husbandry as they care
for rabbits, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, miniature cows, pigs, and ponies. Many
of the youth join the 4-H club and compete at the Wayne County Fair.
The Green family’s passion, commitment to agriculture, mission to make a
difference in the community, and dedication to creating safe, hands-on learning
opportunities for kids in Detroit is commendable. We recognize Jim and Shelly, and
the Pingree Farms staff, for the vision to partner with MSU Extension in providing
opportunities for youth. Congratulations on the MSU Extension Key Partner Award.