Waterwheel Collective Grows in Neighborhood Yards, While Ferndale Farmers’ Market Grows at Kulick Center

By…Crystal A. Proxmire


Neighborhood children frolic through Linda Baker’s garden, examining the peppers and tomatoes and trying to guess how big they might grow to be.  They look for signs of bugs or bunnies, and sometimes they help bring the “worm juice” up from Baker’s basement indoor composter to fertilize the plants. 


But the plot of vegetables growing behind the Baker’s garage isn’t for the family, or even the little friends who come to visit.  Baker is one of five families who is allowing part of their property to be used for a local food movement called The Waterwheel Collective, which grows fresh, organic produce to be sold in the same community where it is grown.  The group has organized a Farmers Market at The Kulick Center (1201 Livernois) on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm.

“Anybody with locally grown foods or plants or locally-made products is welcome to come out and set up a table,” said Waterwheel Collective member Jonelle Bowers.  “We’re here because we want to help our community.  People in Ferndale deserve good, local food.  We’re using our spaces to help feed our community, and supporting the local economy.”


This is the first year for the Farmers’ Market at The Kulick Center.  Last year Bowers was involved with setting up a Community Farm Stand that sold local produce at a table in the pedestrian alley next to American Pop! on the Downtown stretch of W. 9 Mile.  With new people involved, a new location, and more donated garden space, the members of Waterwheel Collective say they expect the idea to take off. 


“The Kulick Center is a better spot because we don’t need a vendor’s permit and people don’t have to pay for parking.  Plus we want more people to come, so there’s room to grow,” said fellow member Clay Bowers.


The Bowers’ and others go to the homes of people willing to donate space, and tend the gardens themselves.  Baker says its fun to let the kids help, and she usually handles the watering on the weekends, but otherwise the young environmental activists do all the work.


“I had all that space back there,” Baker said.  “I wasn’t doing anything with it, but it’s a great spot with plenty of sun.  I’m glad they are getting good use out of it.”


She pointed out the green pepper and hot pepper plants, saying they’ll be ready for next weekend’s sale.


For more information about the Farmers’ Market and how you can get involved with the Waterwheel Collective local foods program, contact Clay Bowers at clashers29@gmail.com.