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 🙂

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