Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy
The Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy conserves natural land and open space -- including forests, wetlands, meadows, agricultural lands, and places of scenic beauty -- to provide habitat for wildlife and to enrich the lives of people.

Giving Options

 Donate To SMLC

How Can I Protect My Land?
SMLC Nature Preserves
SMLC Community Organic Garden
Join our Email List

SMLC Local Chapter:
Superior Township Chapter

Community Organic Garden

If growing organic vegetables with a community of other gardeners interests you, come out and plant your own plot in the Community Organic Garden. The garden is located at the Conservancy Farm just a couple of miles north of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Novices and master gardeners alike are welcome—no experience necessary. Bring your family, friends, or just yourself. All we need is a commitment from you to put in a few hours a week planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, and enjoying this relaxing all-volunteer activity in a setting that could not be more ideal. The number of hours you will need to commit will depend on the size of the garden you plant. It is also fun just to hang out in a garden and talk with nature-friendly folks.

If you are interested in obtaining a plot, please download and send in the Gardener Agreement available here as a PDF form that you can fill out and sign electronically, and pay online, to reduce the need for in-person contact, and so you can get started as soon as possible! If you prefer to print and drop off a form and check, you can do so using the SMLC mailbox and in a sealed envelope, but you will not be able to access the Garden until staff has received those items.

If you need help choosing a plot (or want additional or different plots), or need to "check out" SMLC tools for the season, please contact Garden Coordinator Jack Smiley at


What is Organic Gardening?

JayOrganic gardening is gardening without the use of man-made chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers. It is said by some of its supporters to be more in harmony with nature. Organic gardeners emphasize the importance of "feeding the soil, not the plant".

While the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy is not a certified organic garden, we do adhere to good organic gardening practices and strive to learn about ways to keep our plants healthy and strong without the use of chemicals.

Who Manages the Garden?

Mulch!The Community Organic Garden is managed by a volunteer Garden Committee made up of several gardeners. The Garden Committee manages a yearly budget, provides tools and maintenance, establishes garden priorities, and adopts the rules and guidelines for the operation of the garden. Gardeners are welcome to volunteer for this committee which meets monthly throughout the year.

If you would like to learn more about joining the Community Organic Garden Committee, please contact:

How is the Garden Funded?

cart of veggiesEach year, the SMLC Board of Directors approves a limited budget for the Garden Committee to help sustain the Community Organic Garden project. All SMLC projects are funded by charitable donations, and gardeners are invited to support SMLC's activities with a gift of their own. Gardeners are responsible for providing their own plants and soil amendments.

What Does the Community Organic Garden Provide for Gardeners?

  • Garden Plot - Gardeners choose between a full size plot (20’ x 20’) or half size plot (10’ x 20’) depending on how much time and energy they have to maintain their garden.
  • Tools - Gardeners share a limited supply of communal tools (i.e. shovels, hoes, etc.).
  • Water - Gardeners have access to water and watering cans.
  • Activities - Potlucks and workdays are offered during the growing season to encourage camaraderie and enjoyment among the gardeners. Various classes and workshops are also periodically planned to encourage greater awareness of organic gardening techniques.
  • SMLC Information - Gardeners will receive the SMLC newsletter and email/postcard announcements about SMLC events and volunteer workdays.

Getting Started

First, read the rules and guidelines. This is the foundation upon which a successful community garden is built. Every gardener is expected to follow and respect these rules. Then, if you are interested, contact the SMLC office to see if there are available plots. If there are, she will set up an appointment to give you a tour of the garden and you can select your plot.

Gardening Resources
Places where we have had luck finding organic seeds and seedlings locally:

Organic Seeds

Organic Seedlings

  • Ann Arbor Farmers Market
  • Rochester Farmers Market
  • Warren Farmers Market
  • Needle-Lane Farms (Tipton)
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Meijer (yes, Meijer now carries organic veggie seedlings)
  • Polliwog Farms - Ypsilanti (They will be selling seedlings soon)

A few websites we have found to be helpful along the way:

Seed Savers Exchange
Seeds of Change
Fedco Seeds
Pesticide Action Network
Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy  |  8383 Vreeland Road, Superior Township, MI 48198  |  (734) 484-6565  |
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