In 2009, Sprout Urban Farms founding organizer and current Executive Director, Jeremy Andrews, was approached by residents about starting a community garden. Andrews began to organize community forums based around that and to his surprise over 100 people attended.
From that forum, the projects and passion for Sprout was established. The attendees decided Sprout would serve as a network of community gardens while educating the community to issues surrounding food, improve food access in town and engage youth.
In 2011, the organization received its first grant from Fair Food Network to hire a diverse array of local youths to work in community gardens. Later that year, the organization launched its second effort to improve food access (with the gardens being the first) when they launch a mobile market experiment with the Battle Creek Community Foundation called Fresh on Wheels.
In 2012, the Calhoun County Land Bank approached Sprout about leasing property to create the first youth run urban farm in Battle Creek. After looking at numerous sites, a 2-acre property in Washington Heights was selected. The site, formerly the home of Battle Creek Academy and Bright Star Faith Temple, was renamed Bright Star Farm.
The addition of Bright Star to the Sprout Network allowed us to begin farming the land and selling the produce at local farmers markets, Fresh on Wheels, and local restaurants.
Since our beginnings, we have continued to work to revitalize Battle Creek through local economic development through something Battle Creek did over one hundred years ago, food. We are founded on principles of community organizing. Thus our success, direction and goals come directly from the voices of our community.