Free food and healthy, too: Small town grows its own veggies

DURAND, Mich. (AP) — Need a tomato for a sandwich? In one small community, it’s as easy as picking one from a plant growing downtown.

Durand in Shiawassee County, southwest of Flint, offers an “edible landscape,” a variety of free fruits and vegetables.

The city council recently gave the gardens a vote of confidence by agreeing to spend up to $500 a year, The Argus-Press reported.

“At the end of the day, $500 from the budget is a drop in the bucket for a program that has done so much good for the citizens of Durand,” said council member Matt Schaefer.

Program leader Michael Nazarian estimates the edible landscape will produce more than 300 pounds of fruits and vegetables this year.

Nazarian approached the city last spring, pitching his idea as a way to invigorate downtown and promote healthy lifestyles.

“The produce is available to everyone and it has fed many people. The restaurants have used the produce,” said Candyce Wolsfeld, director of the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce. “It has brought out volunteers who work on their own to weed and continue to beautify Durand.”