We The People Opportunity Farm

We The People Opportunity Farm April 2020 Newsletter

Greetings everyone,

Wow. We are in the midst of some challenging times which are requiring us all to adjust in some very intentional and sometimes uncomfortable ways in an effort to move past the COVID-19 crisis. My warmest thoughts, prayers, and well wishes go out to you and yours. Please continue to stay safe as possible by practicing protocols and equally as important, do all you can to remain mentally sane & sound.

Our organization, like all others, is working at reinventing and reimagining our place in the community and the work we’re dedicated to doing. There are quite a few awesome transformations and alliances taking shape since our last contact, and I’m happy to share them with you! But first I want to apologize to you if you’ve been following our organization since 2018. The reason for my apology is because it was during that year I saw a 9.8 acre property with an abandoned school on it and from that came this amazing vision for repurposing those 9.8 acres and turning it into a World Class Urban Farm with all sorts of cool things taking place there. Aside from being a farm where we would have employed returning citizens, I envisioned a culinary arts training program, community spaces, etc. Well my vision did not turn into a reality and trust me, it wasn’t from lack of trying. As some of you know, I gave it my all! So, my apology is to those who believed (and there were many) in the vision I had for that property. In several ways I feel as though I failed to deliver and that I let you down.

With this being said, our organization continues to adapt and forge ahead with our mission in mind. We, along with our community partners, have been ‘all hands on deck” in creating a robust nine (9) month paid internship program for folks returning home from Washtenaw County Jail. This paid internship program includes working at our farm, along with skill building workshops, community engagement and training in part with other organizations and a solid off-ramp/completion leading to full -time employment here in Washtenaw County. Our goal is to assist them in “changing their soil”!!!

Speaking of change, our organization has completed a name change which better reflects the focal point of our work. The name change isn’t radical, in fact it’s just one (1) word. Moving forward, the name of our organization will be We The People Opportunity
Farm, we hope that you like it!

Here’s a small list of some other changes taking place:

  • Our website host. We’ll be switching over to using Wild Apricot and our new web address is wtpof.org and we are also currently working on developing it out further
  • Domain name
  • Volunteer system
  • Method in which we farm
  • Addition of a an incredible Farm manager, Marly Spieser-Schneider
  • There have been name changes on our social media accounts
  • Community engagement/outreach
  • Building internal systems & processes, organizational, board development, governance and fund development

In closing, I want you to know that our organization is thinking and planning in terms of safety as the weather warms and folks are feeling cooped up. We’re developing a system where small groups of folks (4 or less) can come out and lend a helping hand (we hope to have a digital sign- up sheet soon on our website). There are several other volunteer opportunities as well. Stay tuned for more details, but for now you can contact us at: info@wtpof.org

We are also working on developing a fundraising model for this year. Due to the uncertain nature of sales from local restaurants which we have relied upon for part of our funding, we are working on obtaining emergency relief funding that will allow us to adapt during this crisis and shift our focus to emerging needs. Our goal now is to offer free fresh produce to the neighborhood where our farm resides. As with most organizations, especially those led by people of color, ours will be impacted financially as a result of the current state of affairs and we will need to reach out to our beloved community for support. Currently our new donation page is fully functional; please consider supporting us at this time

at: wtpof.org/Donate
Please continue to stay safe & mentally sound!

Melvin Parson,
Executive Director,
We The People Opportunity Farm

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