For two years, John Hantz has kept a dream alive -- building the world's largest urban farm within Detroit's city limits. But a new editorial in The Detroit News reveals he's been waylaid by plans for the Detroit Works Project and uncertainty over applying the Michigan Right to Farm Law to an urban environment. Meanwhile, Hantz, who has already invested over $1 million into his project, is cooling his heels, with word on the street that one project will soon come up for a vote in front of City Council.
The Hantz project will allow him to clear about 5 acres, create a
1-acre berry farm and use a high-tech approach to growing apples on a
grid. Instead of selling food, Hantz, the capitalist, agrees not to
sell. It's a U-Pick, U No Pay plan that's far from the entrepreneur's original -- and eventual -- intention. The
deal allows Hantz to buy 20 city lots on Brimson, Dwyer and St. Louis
streets for $6,800 -- a pittance until you realize that he's going to
tear down a vacant building, clear the land and return abandoned
property to the tax rolls.
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