Collecting the Stories of Ypsilanti’s Farmers & Gardeners

Mural by Lynne Settles and the 2017 Ypsilanti Community High School Art Students. Photo by Nick Azzaro.

Meet Ypsi’s Farmers & Gardeners


Listen to the oral histories of local Ypsi farmers and gardeners who share stories about how they got started growing food, what the impact of growing food has been for their families and communities, and what lessons they want others to learn from their experiences.

About the Project

The Ypsi Farmers & Gardeners Oral History Project (YFGOHP) is a new YDL digital archive sharing the stories of Ypsi’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and/or working class food growers. Based on community input, the project started by collecting oral histories from elders and including portrait photographs of each farmer or gardener. The initial interviews were completed in October and November 2023 with more planned to start with farmers and gardeners of all ages in 2024. 

sheaves of wheat

Our Goals

To increase food sovereignty for marginalized communities in Ypsilanti.

To document rich stories and histories that are often ignored.

To remember what was possible in the past to help sustain our dreams for what’s next.

To be able to provide for ourselves & sustain our community

Criteria for inclusion in oral histories

Current or previous farming and/or vegetable gardening experience.

Identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC) and/or working class or poor.

Live, grow food, or sell food in the YDL service area.

Elders and people with significant food growing experience are prioritized.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Arts Initiative at the University of Michigan.

Arts Initiative at the University of Michigan
Arts and Resistance
University of Michigan College of Literature Science and the Arts

If you are a funder and would like to support this project, please contact Finn Bell at