Suburban Shoots – a community garden leader training program

Confident and educated garden leaders are the driving force behind successful and sustainable community gardens.

The ability to transform a trash-strewn vacant lot into an oasis of health, beauty and social capital makes community gardens one of the best community development tools available. Michigan State University Extension is offering the Suburban Shoots community garden leader training program this fall in an effort to promote community gardens throughout Metro Detroit by training garden leaders. Confident and educated garden leaders are the driving force behind successful and sustainable community gardens.

Suburban Shoots is a comprehensive training program that incorporates both community organizing and the core horticulture skills community gardeners need to know to cultivate successful and lasting gardens. Each class offers hands-on activities like garden design, composting and seed-starting all while building a web of support, resources and knowledge that lasts far beyond the length of the program. A certificate of completion will be provided to participants who attend at least 7 of the 8 classes, actively participate and complete all assignments including a garden portfolio. This portfolio becomes a resource that facilitates organization of the garden and can be a useful tool to gain both financial and political support.

Suburban Shoots is based on the Urban Roots program model that has been offered every year in Detroit since 2005. Graduates of Urban Roots have taken on key leadership roles in the city’s urban agriculture movement, as evidenced by the increase in Detroit’s gardens from 80 in 2005 to over 1300 in 2010. The subjects covered in the Suburban Shoots include:

  • Plant science, seed starting and propagation
  • Soils, compost and cover crops
  • Vegetables and small fruit
  • Garden design and flowers
  • Community organizing
  • Resource-building
  • Site assessment
  • Pest management
  • Food systems

Suburban Shoots will be held on Saturdays, Sept. 28-Nov. 16, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the RESA / Extension Education Center located at 5454 Venoy Road in the city of Wayne, Mich. The fee is $80 for the action packed 8 week program and you can register at:

Payment is by check or credit card and due by Friday, September 20, 2013. Please contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590 for further information.

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