Urban Farming in Detroit

you guys. YOU GUYS.

i just came across the most amazing thing. As you might have noticed (due to several FB wall postings and continuous rants), sustainable food practices and ending the tyranny of the food “industry” are of huge interest to me. I don’t consider myself to have many passions, but farming and local food practices that contribute back to the earth make the cut. So I get super excited whenever I see people rethinking this bizarre ‘norm’ of trucking food devoid of flavor, nutrition, or redeemable qualities all over the country. I love to watch TED talks about teaching younger generations about the realities of food (no, it isn’t made in the supermarket!), or following the legal battle between family farmers and Monsanto. I read Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, and Barbara Kingsolver with great devotion–I love their passion for food eaten the way humans had been eating it for CENTURIES–locally, organically, moderately (proportionally speaking).

So imagine my joy when an office mate shared with me the AMAZING work Hantz Farms is looking to do in….Detroit.

That’s right. Detroit. NOT Pennsylvania, Vermont, New York, California, Oregon, or Washington. None of the states we (or rather, that I) normally associate as lush food meccas. What’s amazing is that this investor, Mr Hantz of Hantz Farms, wants to begin turning 200 acres of 30,000 available (his share would be about 2300 parcels of abandoned property), into an urban farming community. The first step would be to plant hardwoods that could later be sold to customers looking for young trees, then moving on to planting fruit orchards and hydroponic vegetables.

I LOVE this idea. The man who came up with it lives and works in Detroit. It’s his grassroots attempt to beautify, feed, and educate a floundering city. There’s hardly room to complain when at least SOMEONE is taking the initiative to do something, and that’s better than no one.

I see so much potential here–jobs opening up as debris is cleared from the acreage, neighborhoods that grow their own food, and sell the excess to put money back to the neighborhood from whence it came. Soil enriched, lives changed. I’ve read so many articles detailing the problem of brain drain in urban neighborhoods, where people are more concerned about getting out of the problem area than fixing it. There aren’t any ambitious, motivated people staying around to create solutions to the problems that plague those area. Urban farming changes that–it connects communities, gives neighbors a common goal, and fosters a sense of pride in where you live.

I would encourage you to do some reading on this. I could go on and on about this, but there are some great articles already written about it. I simply wanted to share it with you.  I was going to add this to my weekly list of “this is what’s awesome on the internet” but this was too great to just throw up a link. So here’s the main website, and here’s the press page where you can do some expanded research. Do it. It’ll do your heart good 🙂


where i am

i had one of those moments this morning. you know what i’m talking about. that moment when your alarm goes off and you cannot figure out how the night could have gone so fast. you don’t want to believe it’s already time to leave the comfort of a warm bed in a cool room. i found myself double-checking the time, and rethinking the order of days–surely the weekend wasn’t over yet? and then i crawled out of that cocoon of perfection and began my monday.

what delicious weather we’ve had lately. cool mornings, rainy weekends. this is my absolute favorite time of year. i know many people love autumn for the football, or the holiday decorating, but i’ve always loved how blue the sky gets, the changing leaves, the smell of the earth, the need for quilts and sweatshirts.

with the changing of the seasons comes thoughts of change. it seems timely, and appropriate, as i’ve recently celebrated my 26th trip around the sun (which is sort of lovely to think about: being in a rocket ship, traveling around our star. it’s a bit like a TARDIS experience). i’ve never liked change. even when i’m craving something new and different, there is still a need for things to always be as they were–my relationships still just as sweet and fulfilling, my home always this clean and beautiful, my bank account/pantry/creative life always this full. my cup always running over. i never want to grow old, to lose my youth or my elasticity.

the irony of change is it’s consistency. four times a year our weather patterns shift (in most places. not always in texas). as you grow older, different body parts work different ways. and with this reflection on change and how i accept it or not into my own life, i noticed how negative i am when i think about what needs to change in my life–my thoughts are filled with extremes and dramatic flourishing faints:

losing weight is “impossible”.
i’ll “never” find the home i want that lets me live how i want.
saving money is “impossible”.
i’m “always” going to look this way.

and there always seems to be a few days out of the month when everything is so much more overwhelming, when your whole life can seem an empty road stretching out before you, unchanging and certainly dismal. in those moments it’s difficult to remember that the one constant in life is change. at those times, i have begun clinging to mantras, sentences etched out on the blackboard in my mind

this too shall pass.
it isn’t forever.
life will not always be this way.
of course it will change. you determine the direction.

but then something started to niggle in the back of my brain (no auto spell-check on that word, so I know it’s legit!). i don’t have to believe it. i literally stopped in my tracks with that one. i don’t have to believe everything that flits through my head. i never know all the facts, i am not always truthful with myself, but mostly, i do not always have the best perspective. so it only makes sense that what i’m thinking isn’t always the most correct.

my life is revolutionized. changed. radically overhauled. there has been this freedom in recognizing that not every voice i hear is one of love, truth, or speaking to my best interest. there is no way to block all the voices, all the time. but there is a way to siphon them through a filter of truth. i allow myself to hear everything, since avoidance isn’t the answer. I hear them, then i reject those things as truth.

–losing weight will happen if i continue to nurture a healthy relationship with food and exercise
–my home is wherever i make it. the right home will come along at the right time, and not until.
–discipline with finances comes with discipline in all areas. restraint is virtuous.
–i have already changed in appearance, several times, in just a few short years. not to mention, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way i look. not one.damn.thing.

times of desperation and frustration are also periods of opportunity and growth. i try to remind myself that there is much to be learned in this period in my life. i am dealing with small spaces that inhibit many of the activities i love to do–sewing, quilting, canning, cooking, dinner parties, and gardening. but this same small space is also teaching me frugality, thriftiness, and the power of simplicity. i have not had a microwave in over a year because i have no counter space, but while i cannot quickly cook a frozen dinner, i am able to enjoy real food delightfully fresh and healthy. i don’t have much room for modern conveniences, but i’ve learnt they aren’t all that necessary. my bookshelves are overflowing, so that means it’s time to pass along these old friends to someone else who may enjoy them.

this tiny house has yielded great fruit–i learned to can and sew in this house. i utilized every designer tip to make it a delight to walk in to. i have survived two kittens (and am still surviving two cats). i made my first quilt here. i am learning that gardening will take much more of my energy than anticipated–sometimes remember to water the porch plants is challenge enough!

so in this new season, i’ve been trying to remind myself of a few things. i am blessed beyond measure for the things in my life i DO have. what will be, will be. i cannot, nor should i wish to, rush the things of tomorrow. it’s all going to happen at some point, and (hold on, one more cliche) i need to be happy with where i am, since there are lessons here as well. there is a saying flitting around Pinterest right now–“Do what you can with what you have where you’re at” (which isn’t grammatically correct but still, i cling)–which is a perfect encapsulation.

what are you finding yourself anxious about? what lies do you believe? what are you trying to rush in your life?


the best part of having a brother is always having a pillow.

why yes, your new picture frame does make an excellent bed.

i sleeps with one eye open. don’t try anything.

and just to prove they aren’t always sleeping…


cat in a recycling bin.





Things I’ve Looking at Lately…

i spend quite a bit of time wandering the halls of the internet, and on a daily basis visit hundreds of links. sometimes those links are just amazing. sometimes, they upset me, anger me, inspire me, feed my soul, or motivate my lazy rear. I’m trying out this feature, to see if A) it’s sustainable and B) to see how many people share my same sense of humor. i post important things to my facebook and i also have a twitter account, so sorry for the redundancy. but here’s what I’m thinking’s pretty awesome:

for fans of the Ermahgerd girl.

you don’t have to talk back. people aren’t entitled to your attention simply because they’re attracted to you. an awesomely fierce woman.

i love the original old spice man, but Terry Crews is killin’ it.

i’m so fascinated by home-brewing, but the downside is that I actually reallydon’t like beer–I’m more of a hard cider girl. So this is a brew I can get behind.

I love it when people do what others say can’t be done (like building bionic hands!). Proof that innovation is still alive, and doesn’t require a fancy laboratory.

This lovely series of photos of the Brown sisters, 25 years of sisterhood.

my favorite animal teasing a cat.

i can’t even imagine how things like this are legal. makes me sick to my stomach (not to mention my heart)

i heart craigslist. a whole whole bunch. and i love coming across posts like these, very organically (I was browsing, I didn’t find this linked from somewhere else!)

And last but least…what would you do if you’d lived through cancer?

Ok that’s actually quite a lot of links, and that’s not even all the ones I wanted to add! For good measure, here are some of the beautiful tumblr photo logs I’ve been looking at:

Gin and Bird
Young Man, Old Soul
The Yard
Now and Then (Not Always SFW)
Old Loves
A Well-Traveled Woman

Ok, now that I’ve thrown up all over my blogs–find some inspiration! And maybe post a few of your favorites? I’d love to see the internet through your eyes today!