Farming: One way to try and save Detroit – Dec. 29, 2009

Homegrown Neighbor here:

I thought this article was really interesting. Can growing food in declining cities make them places people want to live again? Maybe the Homegrown Evolution team needs to pick up and buy a compound in Detroit. I guess we could do a lot of farming in the city. Land is cheap and abundant. But it sounds cold and we are weak in the face of temperatures below 50 degrees.

Farming: One way to try and save Detroit – Dec. 29, 2009

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  1. Farming has nothing to do with it. Detroit has had a democratic mayor since 1961. It’s no wonder their tax and spend philosophy has kept their people broke financially and in spirit. They promise the world, but only take more from their people to waste in government bureacracy.

  2. @Red: Detroit is a monoculture and they went for the wrong product (fuel suckers). What has the mayor to say in that matter? Fake-ticker: 1982, city mayor says “I think GM should build more eco friendly cars!” GMs answer: “Fuck you.”

  3. gosh, got some sour puss comments here, eh? I don’t think they have much to lose and it sounds pretty cool to me, at least taking it at face value… I hope it succeeds personally. thanks for the link to the story

  4. @Caribe704: your statement is actually right-on. What about, instead of incarcerating non-violent law-breakers, requiring them to live and work on urban farms? Or, what about converting all prisons to working farms? Juvenile detention programs: make them all about training in sustainable agriculture, green systems, etc.
    Creative imagination=change=freedom.

  5. Complex problems usually have complex causes, but I hope this can be a part of the solution. If I did not have young children (and a special needs one, in particular) I would seriously consider selling out my California real estate and buying up a city block of Detroit dirt.

  6. Actually, I’ve read a few articles and saw one documentary on farming in Detroit. Evidently, there is now more green space in Detroit than there are houses and buildings, and there is a high school for pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers that is trying to teach them to farm those green spaces as a way to fend for themselves. In an article in the Chicago Tribune, they quoted Detroit’s mayor: “Urban farming will be part of Detroit’s long-term redevelopment plan,” Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement.” They still have a lot to figure out of course, from soil remediation to how to tax farmland, but I think it’s very positive and I imagine that this thing will catch on through a lot of the rust belt and elsewhere.

    Go urban farming!

  7. as someone living and farming in detroit, i think it’s important to understand the big issue surrounding this. this is yet another situation in which rich white folk continue to control valuable resources. true equality will not be created until true wealth aka land is in the hands of the people. if you want to read up on some of my thoughts in regard to my vision for detroit, and some of the amazing grassroots work that is already being done, you can check out some posts here

  8. @littlehouseontheurbanprarie-

    Your post embodies class envy with phrases like “in which rich white folk continue to control valuable resources”.

    Why not work hard to achieve wealth instead of expecting others to give you a handout through redistribution of wealth? You are why welfare doesn’t allow people to step up and provide for themselves. Welfare fails because there is no shame anymore.

  9. @Red: so you would say the native Americans didn’t deserve their land back, except if they worked hard for that? It got taken from them by people more powerful (in numbers and arms) at that point. White people, and it is still that way, if they can get away with it. Those are the two sides of the American medal, work hard and become wealthy, or just abuse the weaker. Both works.

  10. “Justice” sounds so malicious because you want what you aren’t willing to work for yourself. Does that mean you aren’t going to write a poem under a rainbow after chasing unicorns?

  11. I’m gonna stay out of this fray, but I’m glad somebody finally mentioned unicorns on this blog. I think it’s time for what the folks at BoingBoing call a “unicorn chaser”:

    Now I wonder if unicorn manure has magical properties in the garden?

    Had to drop that conceptual detour. You can all carry on . . .

  12. I am all for this except for the idea that the land will be owned by this one guy. cities in decline like Detroit represent a great chance for more public land ownership- why not have th city put the land into a public land trust and then enter into a long term lease of something like 60 years with this developer? I’d be nervous about the idea that this one person has such power over so much of the city’s land.

  13. @red

    justice sounds malicious? and i’m unwilling to work for it? says who?

    is it just that huge portions of this countries wealth was created by conquest?

    is it just that huge numbers of people were imported to this country against there will and forced into slavery?

    is it just that ancestors of slaves who’s backs the wealth of this county was largely built upon still don’t have access to most of that wealth?

    i’m more than willing to work for that wealth, the question i have is will others allow any one access?

    and i do love rainbows, do enjoy a good poem, don’t believe in unicorns, and don’t really get your point about chasing them. but i’m sure you think i’m stupid. and i take no offense to that.

  14. Here’s the deal- I run a small business. Most of my money goes towards taxes. I can give my money away towards things I want to give to better than a government bureacracy can; so don’t steal it from me. Detroit is broke because they are liberal and they are stealing from people that are already broke.

    Liberals make other liberals hoping to cash in on the free government cheese more broke. Make your own way from hard work and dont’ steal it off the backs of other people’s work.

  15. It seems to me that Detroit suffers because they chose to invest in one industry, rather than pursue a divers, and vibrant community with multiple layers of business, small business owners like yourself, and visionary government. It’s compounded by decades – centuries – of racial inequality. Community activists have gotten Detroit to a place where even large investors recognize that putting money into local, sustainable projects can transform this city. I agree with the poster who notes that the biggest issue might be that one person is capitalizing on the work of hundreds of low income residents of the city. None of this, however, takes money away from your small business. I often wonder when the pull yourself up by your bootstraps notion will die off in this country. It’s as mythological as unicorns and lots less pretty.

  16. As someone who actually lived just outside the border of the city of Detroit for 20 years, I would be more than happy to see any sort of improvement.

    Fun fact: You could comfortably nestle the city of San Francisco inside the abandoned areas of Detroit. If we were to use that space responsibly, think of the repercussions. In addition, I believe it would be a wise idea for the Detroit Public School system to tie into an urban farming project. The school systems are woefully lacking in resources and funding, so I don’t know how viable that would be, but I feel like it would give a lot of the kids a valuable skill, a sense of the bigger world around them, and perhaps even a way out of their current circumstance.

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