Detroit’s Urban Farms


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©The Detroit Foodie

During the first half of the XXth century, thanks to the car industry, the city of Detroit had an important growth period. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors helped the city to became the symbol of the American industry.

But in 1970, an important economic crisis hit the continent and even the all world. That major crisis transformed the “Manufacturing Belt”, into the “Rust Belt”. Many industries were forced to close, especially the car ones and people started to flee the city. The economic crisis on one hand and the racial pressures on another one, the city which had more than 1,8 billions of inhabitants in 1950, had only 800 000 left.

Abandoned houses, brownfields, criminality’s rate at its highest, and an important unemployment rate, the town was neglected and left abandoned.


©The Detroit Foodie

In 1970, the mayor, Coleman Young created the program Farm-A-Lot, allowing citizens to cultivate soils in their neighborhood . 40 years later, 16 000 inhabitants are cultivating more that 1500 farms and gardens across the street.

Lots of associations has been created since 1970, to help transform the town and help save the citizens that still remain. Walking around in the city, you can know admire vegetables gardens, beehives, hen houses and more. Those urban farms has an important role for the inhabitants, especially the fact of diversifying cultures to be able to produce all along the year. Surrounded by liquor shops selling alcohol and cans, the town’s access to fresh products is limited, this is crucial for the citizens to get fresh food as fruits and vegetables. Even with those greens initiatives, Detroit still remains a ‘desert’ regarding fresh food and products. There is only 38 groceries for its 800 000 inhabitants. “We can’t find trace of fresh product, said Lisa Johanon. Only alcohol, dope, milk and lots and lots of cans”


©The Detroit Foodie

Because 20% do not own a car, the Eastern Market located in the center where you can buy fresh products grown in Detroit is helping those people to eat fresh food. There is also the truck “Peaches and Greens”that is wandering around to deliver the hall town. And because producing fresh products has a cost, an important part of the population was not able to pay for it. This is when Taja Sevelle one on the urban farming in Detroit pioneer, decided to create open farms, with no gates, so any one can come and help himself.


©The Detroit Foodie

To learn more about Detroit’s green initiative, follow that link 

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