Seed Award Spotlight: Old City Acres

Alexander Ball, owner of Old City Acres, a farm and a year-round CSA program, providing fresh, locally grown food to Ypsilanti, Belleville, Romulus, and Ann Arbor in Michigan.

In our “Seed Award Spotlight” series, we asked our inaugural Seed Award winners about their experience as a food or farm entrepreneur, including the passion behind their business, and what motivates them to do the work they do every day. In early 2024, 11 Seed Award winners were chosen to receive seed funding totaling almost $150,000, based on their businesses’ commitment to promoting racial equity, enhancing healthy food access, fostering job creation, and embracing resilient climate practices. 

Among the winners is Old City Acres, a Belleville-based farm that has transformed from a backyard garden into a multi-farm local food delivery service over the past decade. Collaborating with local producers and employing innovative strategies, owner Alexander Ball run a year-round CSA program, providing fresh, locally grown food to Ypsilanti, Belleville, Romulus, and Ann Arbor. The award funding will allow them to convert a refrigerated truck into a walk-in cooler, enhancing their storage capacity and strengthening the local food economy. 

Keep reading to learn more about Old City Acres and their community-centric CSA strengthening the local food economy year-round. 

What does being selected as a Seed Award winner mean to you personally, and how does it reflect on the journey of your business so far? 

Being selected for a Seed Award at this time in our business is a true validation of our hard work and dedication to supporting local Michigan foods. Access to capital is already a challenge, and to be trusted to use funds for community impact is a big responsibility that doesn’t come around often. 

In what ways will the Seed Award funding support your immediate and long-term business goals? 

Having access to additional capital through the Seed Award will allow us to take a next step in the scaling process in our local food business. Being able to immediately increase our infrastructure and hire on more summer work will allow us to generate additional revenue and support future growth. 

Can you share your vision for the positive changes this award will enable you to make in your business and the broader community? 

Receiving funding will allow us to drastically increase our refrigeration and product holding capacity so we can purchase more local foods from farmers in our community. Being able to engage with more growers while increasing the logistical network between eater and consumer not only supports the end consumer but the growers as well. 

What led you to start your business? What motivates you to do what you do? 

I started my farm business during the heart of the recession after seeing the affects of local grocery stores closing in my community. An initial seed of an idea over a decade ago has continued to influence and motivate us as we grow and increase local food access. 

Want to try fresh produce from City Green Acres? Visit their website to learn how to sign up for their Flex CSA. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.