The resurgence of urban farming in Detroit was the one of the central solutions put forward at the US Social Forum which was held in Detroit in June, 2010.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Downsized Detroit Becomes Beacon of Urban Farming
One-third of Detroit's land area has been depopulated, leaving "abandoned houses, vacant lots and vacant factories," according to a story in the Guardian UK. Swaths of razed house lots are being taken over by city residents and farmed in small plots for vegetables, fruits and bee-keeping. There's even a million-dollar 40-acre commercial farm near the downtown that has begun operations. Most of the food is grown cooperatively and is available to neighbourhood residents for free at harvest time. The coop gardeners are worried about the takeover of their plots by commercial farming and have formed their own coalition of cooperative gardens to protect their right to farm. Thus far the two business models are doing well side-by-side. A short video by the Guardian interviews a cooperative farmer and a bee-keeper. The video is interesting because it encapsulates the growth and decline cycle of what was once a sprawling metropolis, and it shows that people can survive both ends of the cycle. Interestingly, Los Angeles has begun a Transition movement that is doing the same kind of work. While LA has not experienced the same kind of decline as Motor City, Detroit has become a model for dealing with urban de-growth and decline which some expect to be a common occurrence in other large US cities.