Rising Pheasant Farms grows urban ag operation on east side

It's the dead of winter in Michigan, but Rising Pheasant Farms is not sitting idle. The urban farm on Detroit's near east side is growing its production capability and space in an effort to expand operations.

"We just bought four more lots," says Carolyn Leadley, owner & farm manager for Rising Pheasant Farms. "We will be up to a half acre in the next couple of years."

Leadley and her husband, Jack VanDyke, launched the farm in 2009 while Leadley was working at Greening Detroit. "I got excited about all the folks here doing urban agriculture," Leadley says.

The three-person operation -- it’s in the process of hiring one person now -- grows seasonal vegetables that it sells to local restaurants and at Eastern Market. All of its produce is delivered via bicycles.

Rising Pheasant Farms also recently won a $10,000 NEIdeas grant last fall. That money helped them install a radiant heating system in their greenhouse to increase growing capacity while minimizing utility costs.

For Leadly and VanDyke, urban agriculture offers them opportunity of becoming leaders in sustainability in farming. "We are growing in the city in a truly sustainable model," Leadley says.

Source: Carolyn Leadley, owner & farm manager for Rising Pheasant Farms
Writer: Jon Zemke

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