America should look to Detroit for sustainable food system innovations

Detroit's community farms and gardens continue to catch the eye of the rest of the country.

Excerpt from

These urban farming ventures provide local food that's produced in an ecologically sensitive way — a major accomplishment in and of itself. But what's more, a lot of these groups help further revitalize Detroit by offering historically disenfranchised groups training and jobs, incorporating them as a vital part of the workforce. Urban farms, therefore, don't just provide food—they help grow employment, profits, morale, and spruce up a city that is, for lack of a better word, ugly.

It's not just small, community groups taking root in Detroit, either. Michael Score's Hantz Farms is currently planning to build the world's largest urban farm in the city. Another large-scale proposal comes from Self-Help Addiction Rehab, Inc. The rehabilitation facility proposed RecoveryPark, a 10-year, $220 million venture that would create organic farms in four impoverished neighborhoods.

Color me seriously impressed with Detroit's farming efforts. But these innovative concepts don't need to exist solely in the Motor City bubble. Lots of American cities are experiencing post-industrial decay, like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Memphis. While they may lack quite as much vacant space as Detroit, trust me, it's there. It may sound strange to hear it, but when it comes to agriculture, American cities would do well to model themselves after Detroit.

Read the entire article here.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.