Was there a house on the block where you grew up where the kids hung out, played basketball, jumped rope, and maybe even had a popsicle provided by the mom who lived in that house? Were there rules to hanging out at that house, like “There’s no cussing in my yard,” or “You call me Mrs. Flint”? Do you have memories of playing ball there well into summer twilight or making up double Dutch jump rope tricks with friends? Well, that’s the kind of home Rosalyn Flint, owner of The Urban Country Tea House, had when her kids were younger. Rosalyn is looking to create a similar sense of community at her Urban Country Tea House. Located in the Farmway of Brightmoor at 14944 Bramell, The Tea House is the meeting place for community groups such as the Girl Scouts and a book club. At The Tea House these groups are able to enjoy each other’s company, make plans, discuss ideas, and enjoy a cup of herbal tea and maybe a homemade pastry. The community groups are not charged a fee but are encouraged to donate pastries to The Tea House. In its third year, The Tea House sits in the area of Brightmoor where people are transforming empty lots into vegetable gardens. Both the lavender and the mint that go into the popular lavender mint tea are grown in the gardens that surround The Tea House. Basil tea, watermelon lemonade, and peach lemonade are also favorites and perfect refreshers for a summer afternoon. Bee hives and butterflies also occupy the space, and Rosalyn is working on crosspollinationcorridor.com, an effort to educate the community about the complex relationships between and among bees, bats, butterflies, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and how all of this is necessary to the production of healthy food.
BUILDING COMMUNITY ONE CUP OF TEA AT A TIME
In her second year at the Northwest Detroit Farmer’s Market, Rosalyn usually brings three kinds of tea every Thursday. She’s there to sell tea and whatever produce is in season, but she’s also there to encourage people to come to The Urban Country Tea House, have a glass of tea, maybe browse the library of gardening books, take a walk through the gardens, or to stop by in the evening for a Movies in the Garden Night. Rosalyn is working to create a community where there’s something for everyone. Besides hosting the Girl Scouts and a book club, The Tea House also has a game night every month, a quilting club, and a women’s support group. Rosalyn would also like to install a community volleyball court, a 4H Club, and even a robotics training program. On a recent Thursday at the Market, Rosalyn spotted two teenage girls. She called them over to her table and, while they were enjoying tea, she asked them if they were interested in joining a double Dutch jump rope team to perhaps compete with a team on the Eastside. Not only were the girls interested, the mom that was with them also volunteered to help out, “and when things like that happen,” Rosalyn said after the three walked away, “I know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
The next time you’re at the Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market shopping for eggs or flowers, sweet potato treats or vegetables, and you want something refreshing to drink, stop by Rosalyn Flint’s table. She might let you try the kiwi tea before you invest in a full glass. “It can be an acquired taste,” she says. She might offer you half a glass of watermelon tea if you’re a little short.
While her tea is delicious and refreshing, Rosalyn and her Urban Country Tea House is more about creating community. She sees her role in the community as similar to the role she played when her kids were younger. “You pull the kids in. You build memories, and you build community.”
For more information about The Urban Country Tea House, call 313.704.1122 or like them on Facebook.