Shout out to all the closeted LGBT people who have to return to unsafe family environments this season. Remember that there is nothing wrong with you and that no, you are not a hypocrite for loving the people who raised you despite the things they have done to hurt you. Above all remember that you will always have friends who support you even if your family does not.
Voters in Genesee County will see a proposed four-year, 0.04-mill property tax increase for the county’s Michigan State University Extension on the Nov. 5 ballot — and we’re inviting the public to help us decide whether or not to endorse it.
Obviously, this blog is very satirical in nature with the idea of promoting Flint with a bit of snark. Humor is an incredible tool for drawing a variety of narratives, and to me I think it’s something that can do a lot for a community such as Flint. That being said, I wanted to take a moment to talk about an issue that is near and dear to me heart.
I don’t write these sort of messages very often, but on this particular issue I felt a particular need to share what I feel is very important information about an upcoming Millage Proposal for the MSU Extension this November 5th.
I want to personally implore you to vote YES for many reasons. It’s only a $4 increase for every $100,000 in value on your property taxes (if you rent, vote YES and make your landlord pay for it). That’s seriously a VERY SMALL AMOUNT for the incredible programming they offer Genesee County.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Michigan State Extension and what they do here in Flint, here’s a brief overview of the programs that they offer and why they’re important to EVERYONE in this community. These programs aren’t always visible, so as an insider who sees the work they do, I felt it necessary to share:
Community & Urban Agricultural Programs — The MSU Extension has been INSTRUMENTAL in the urban gardening/farming movement in Flint. Over 3,000 contacts in Flint (which is continually growing) are supported through education and training programs offered/coordinated by MSU Extension such as Edible Flint. It’s helped develop community leaders as well as a local food system across Genesee County. This is CRUCIAL for several reasons:
—IT HAS THE POWER TO TRANSFORM COMMUNITIES AND LIVES. We’ve already seen the power of organic community gardening in Flint in regard to positively transforming neighborhoods and helping to re-shape areas that are struggling. Blighted homes are coming down, neighbors are buying up the lots through the Genesee County Landbank and re-purposing them for community gardens. Gardens are literally replacing blighted properties and overgrown fields with FOOD sources where many people simply lack access to fresh vegetables and fruit. In addition, watching folks on cash-assistance, in the program that I work with, volunteer in community gardens has been extremely powerful. You can literally see them be more at peace with themselves, get excited about the process, ask many questions, and generally take an interest in something positive in their lives. It’s incredible what a garden can do for people who are struggling.
—IT IMPROVES HEALTH AND REDUCES HEALTHCARE EXPENSES. These gardens have helped give young people and families purpose in their lives, as well as connect them with the land and their food. Previously, many of them would purchase processed junk food from the closest liquor store in walking distance. It’s doesn’t take a nutritionist to know that a diet highly concentrated with processed food is terrible for people. It often leads to many health issues such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more. This is legitimately helping improve nutrition in areas where improvement is desperately needed. So it’s helping people live healthier, more productive lives!
—IT CREATES JOBS AND NEW ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES. We took a trip recently to the MSU Student Organic Farm down in Lansing where they’re on the cutting edge in development of comprehensive organic compost systems. They’re literally making money and helping to fund that program through the sale of worm-based and vegetable compost systems! This is a commodity that not many people produce and if these sort of programs can continue to be implemented in Flint and the greater Genesee County community, it could literally mean the development of an entirely new source of income for organizations and individuals. There is an endless amount of potential in this!
—IT’S MORE SUSTAINABLE. Let’s talk frankly for a moment about sustainable agriculture and HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR THE SURVIVAL OF HUMANITY. Current industrial farming practices utilize fossil fuels EVERY step of the way; from fertilizing, tilling, planting, harvesting, transportation, and more. The entire system is based on a finite, dwindling resource. Think about that for a minute. Remember the Deep Water Horizon disaster? It was the deepest drilling operation in existence at the time, oil companies are becoming increasingly desperate and the net energy gain from these extraction methods is dwindling as well, e.g. we’re using more energy extracting, transporting, refining, and distributing this energy source than the amount of energy it yields. All of this means, WE NEED REAL ALTERNATIVES! Organic farming is PART of a very complex puzzle that if humans do not start working toward completing, LIFE WILL END ON THIS PLANET, period.
Gardening Programs — Over 70,000 people were reached by these gardening programs, which include beautification projects, the plant & pest hotline, and various education programs such as the Master Gardening Program.
4-H & Youth Programs — 4-H is crucial in developing the next generation of farmers who provide our society with food! The number of young people pursuing farming as life choices has significantly decreased in recent history. Programs like 4-H are important to help keep people interested as well as help give them the skills they need to do pursue said career/life option. In addition, MSU extension has also helped with various other afterschool, or school enrichment programs. Which everyone knows are important and valuable in general.
Project Fresh — A program aimed at specifically improving nutrition and access to healthy vegetables and fruit. It’s helped over 3,000 Genesee County adults, seniors, and youth get access to nutritious food through the Flint Farmer’s Market. Which in turn also helps support local, independent, family owned farms. More information can be found here: http://www.projectfresh.msu.edu/projectfresh/home
So ask yourself this… is $4 to 20 fewer dollars in your pocket every year worth all of this? The benefits are incredible and it costs next to nothing. I implore you, please vote “YES” this coming November 5th!
PLEASE reblog this and help get the word out, we can all afford this millage and it’s something that’s really important for this community.