First and Last Name
Holly A Huff
Current place of residence
Stanton MI, Montcalm county
What is your current occupation/work?
I drive a school bus. I help my Amish neighbors, and I raise alpacas
When and where did you work with Maurice?
2008-2010 ELYRIA OH
For how long did you work with Maurice?
What kind of work did you do when you worked with Maurice?
Maurice worked with me and my neighbors to build gardens for neighbors to eat from. He showed us how to create garden beds with items most people throw out. Food compost, cardboard and paper, and horse and cow poo! We were able to create healthy soil above contaminated soil.
We were able to change the city officials’ minds who fought us about using unkept public property for community gardens. We not only were able to save the city money on maintenance of the property, but we supplied neighborhoods, food banks and churches with free fresh vegetables and fruits. Vacant properties not only grew food but friendships and knowledge. Children got involved and learned about soil, worms, seeds, nature, kindness and charity.
Three (3) years later, with new Mayor, we were able to create a city volunteer community garden program. The city of Elyria offered city lots to neighborhoods so they could build gardens. In 2015 there were 8 neighborhoods growing fresh, free produce for anyone who wanted or needed it. We never sell our produce and everyone is welcome to eat from the gardens.
Elyria was the second city I was able to start community gardens in, Cambridge, OH was the first. I have since moved to Michigan and am in the process of working with 2 towns here to do the same thing. We also have 17 acres of land in which we will be raising alpacas and horses and food. We will be sharing are food and poo with our country neighborhoods.
What kind of growth/transformation happened for you (and/or for the people you served) because of your work with Maurice?
I realized I love helping people learn about making soil and growing food to share. I realize I never knew what a real Brussel sprout tasted like until you pull it off the plant at 4pm and have it on your dinner plate by 5pm. I realized I want to grow my own food and I loved country living. I decided to move from the city to the country.
I realized have to fight sometime for the cause. Learn to build community and show the city they need to expand their services to residents.
I have always loved gardens, but Maurice taught me how to build and create healthy soil. He taught me to love worms, not be frightened of them. Maurice was there to encourage me to fight the city to allow public gardens. When I was discouraged, he pushed me to continue the fight. It helped me realize that gardens don’t just grow food, they grow relationships into friendships, into healthy living and healthy neighborhoods.
How has working with Maurice benefitted you and/or uplifted you?
Nothing better than growing food, growing friendships and growing neighborhoods.
What would you say to someone who is interested in working with Maurice in the future?
JUST TRY IT, YOU WILL LOVE IT!
Memories and Stories
How many stories do you want? I have many. One of my favorites is...
I received a call from a neighbor that someone was picking vegetables at 2am almost every morning. Not a lot just a couple items. Finally someone realized this person was struggling with his food source and was able to eat healthy and free because of our community garden. He was embarrassed that he was taking food from others but he was in serious need. Once it was explained that it was food grown for everyone who was willing to take it, you could see his shoulders rise. He felt cared about. He continued to pick from the gardens, but no longer felt he had to hide in the darkness to pick the produce. He was seen during the day picking food, pulling weeds, and bringing others who needed food. I saw pride grow in him and he paid it forward often.
A Few Words…
It is important and needed. Not only Maurice’s knowledge but how he energized people with his love of soil, fresh food, community and of course worms! He encouraged me to go outside of my comfort zone and fight for the right to GARDEN in public!
Maurice I love you and I love worms and poo now!!!!!