(This article was published in the Oakland Press in 2010)
The HAVEN Garden Project’s mission is to develop a community garden in Pontiac for residents to create a healthy, sustainable environment.
It is led by HAVEN CEO Beth Morrison; AskInYourFace.com & Al-Sam.com, founder Allison Stuart Kaplan; her son, Benjamin Gluck, a senior horticulture student at Michigan State University and coordinator; and educator Alexis Bogdanova-Hanna.
Insert today 2014…(Additionally, Benjamin received his masters degree in Horticultural Science at MSU and is presently on his way to medical school. Ben will be the lead architect for Haven’s new expanded garden in 2015-16 at Haven’s future new home in Pontiac)
“I am honored to be a part of this incredible mission,” says Kaplan, whose family helped develop Pontiac in the early 20th century. “The HAVEN residents, as well as community members and volunteers, will come together to plant, nurture and harvest the fruits and vegetables of their labor — and they’ll build relationships with one another and with the earth at the same time.”
HAVEN, which stands for Help Against Violent Encounters Now, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader providing comprehensive solutions and innovative programs promoting violence-free homes and communities. Its mission is to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault across Oakland County and the surrounding communities through treatment and prevention services.
The HAVEN Garden Project involves local groups, schools, HAVEN of Pontiac, the Michigan Young Farmer Coalition, AskInYourFace.com, and Abundant Succession, an ecological education firm.
Gardens will be on HAVEN property, with ground-breaking this month. Donations are needed to make the project happen and can be made at www.haven-oakland.org. Follow the garden’s progress at www.haven-oakland.org , www.Al-Sam.com
Kaplan was born into a family of community builders. In the early 1900s, her great-grandparents, Joseph and Rachel Barnett, were among the founders of the Jewish Pontiac Temple and also developers of early commerce in Pontiac. Hershel Stuart, Kaplan’s late father, was chairman of the board at Oakland Family Services at its peak and was responsible for the founding and reconstruction of its main offices at the former Elks Temple in downtown Pontiac and its expansion to other communities in Oakland County.
“As far as we go in this world, we always come back to our roots,” Kaplan said. “Pontiac has changed so much since my great-grandparents started developing it — and it is an honor to be involved in its rebuilding.”
Kaplan also continues the family legacy by partnering with her son in this effort. Gluck helped launch the Michigan Young Farmer Coalition and is dedicated to empowering people toward sustainability.
The HAVEN Garden Project includes cultivating and growing food, making weekly deliveries of fresh produce to Pontiac recipients, and educating HAVEN residents and neighboring youth about community gardening.
Kaplan created www.AskInYourFace.com in 2008 as a way to empower women. With a growing national readership, www.AskInYourFace.com offers daily articles from experts in fitness, health and wellness, nutrition, relationships, animal activism and more. Kaplan is based in Bloomfield Hills. Visit Al-Sam.com
“My goal is to inspire women by providing solid information in a direct way — if you sugar-coat something, it’s received lightly,” she said. “That’s why I’m in your face — because you can’t make change without really pushing buttons!
“I really believe women can change their lives, emotionally and physically, ” Kaplan said. “I am dedicated to informing and inspiring women to become fit for their future — on every level.”
— From staff reports, Oakland Press
Ironically, my dad would be celebrating his 85th birthday this Thursday Oct. 16th. He would be so very proud of our community. Hershel was deeply passionate about rebuilding Pontiac and supporting the community. Happy birthday dad.! xo
Come join in the shopping fun this Thursday Oct. 16 on the Boardwalk in West Bloomfield, Mi. Our generous partners, Closet NV, Sundance Shoes & On The Fly Blow Dry will be donating proceeds to The Haven Garden Project from the all day shopping and beauty event, open to close. Enjoy pizza, wine & apps starting at 5pm at Closet NV! See you there!
Visit http://michiganyoungfarmercoalition.org/projects/haven/ for more amazing photos and videos of the Haven Garden.
Go All The Way With Gusto & Grace