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Blight to Bloom

July 5, 2023 | By Emilie Jacques

Community Garden Part of Rejuvenation of Downtown Calumet

Calumet is one of many historic towns dappled across the midwest. Some buildings stand strong showing off their elaborate sandstone trim and copper, while others lay in ruin, withered away by time. By working on one building, one lot at a time, Calumet is making a name for itself once again.

One example of this work is a new community garden that was built by Main Street Calumet and funded by Copper Shores Community Health Foundation.  

Community gardens bring many benefits to communities, and the garden in Calumet is a shining example of it. The garden creates access to fresh, healthy and affordable produce, increases the street value with care and beautification, and brings community members together as they work towards a common goal. Man in Tulip Garden 2

 The community garden was created with a $8,454.96 grant from Copper Shores Community Health Foundation. They got things started in 2021, and had their first full season in 2022. After that initial funding, the community garden continues to be funded on through their annual tulip sale and garden bed rentals. 

The annual tulip sale fundraiser kicks off the growing season for the garden each year with bulbs being planted during the previous fall. As soon as they’re in full bloom, the tulips are sold to community members, brightening all corners of town. While the tulips do not stay planted at the community garden for long, they are a great way to bring people together and raise awareness for, and interest in, the community garden. It’s a beautiful site with all the tulips in bloom and a great way to start each season. 

Main Street Calumet built raised beds to be more accessible for those with limited mobility, ensuring that gardeners can come back year after year for the growing season. Raised beds also protect future produce from whatever lies in the soil of yesteryear. 

The community garden is located on the 400 block of downtown Calumet, one block over from where the weekly Main Street Calumet Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays. Like the implementation of the farmers market, the community garden has improved the street value and brought people into the downtown sector.

Businesses located along the 300 block, where the market takes place, have reported increased foot traffic on market days and Main Street Calumet hopes to achieve the same for businesses on the 400 block with the implementation of the community garden.

With key additions like the community garden and farmers market, Main Street Calumet is working with the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance to play out a larger plan in revitalizing downtown Calumet. Building by building, lot by lot, Calumet is being restored to its historical beauty. To learn more about the plans to restore historic buildings, boost the local economy and increase interest in Calumet, listen to this podcast from Copper Country Today.

If interest in renting a bed continues to grow, Main Street Calumet has plans to add more raised beds. For those who do not have a garden bed rented, there is currently a short waiting list for any openings. Fruit trees also live within the garden bounds that anyone is welcome to harvest from.

Learn more about the Main Street Calumet Community Garden visit the Main Street Calumet website. Copper Shores funded this as part of its Food Initiative which is aimed at increasing the number of well-nourished individuals in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties. Learn more about the initiative and more programming at

Emilie Jacques

Emilie Jacques

"I graduated from Michigan Tech with a B.S. in Psychology, a minor in Communication Studies, and a minor in Media Production. I love the outdoors and DnD." You can reach Emilie at