urban farming in detroit

i heard this story on npr yesterday morning about the revitalizing of certain areas of detroit (suffering from intense urban decay) where only a few people may live for many blocks. not only has this proven to be dangerous, but it is also a true waste of land, land that can be used for much more sustainable practices.

this lack of livable land, however, works to the advantage to urban farmers such as paul weertz. he has 10 acres in the city, and among many other things, produces about one thousand bales of alfalfa every year. another nearby farm provides produce for 27 neighboring families. carolyn leadley's farm is so convenient to the farmer's markets in the city, she is able to deliver her home-grown flowers and tomatoes by bicycle.

there are some issues, however. because parts of these plots are still owned by the city, they have the power to uproot them if they choose to sell the land, or find violations such as high vegetation in a residential neighborhood. unfortunately, there are not any policies supporting urban farming and agriculture yet in detroit, while there are many that could get in the way. across town, a community farm in cass corridor is having to move, as part of its land has been sold to a dog daycare business.

from all that i can garner, this urban farming revival serves more than enough positive purposes including beautification of the city, providing sustenance for families, utilizing wasted space, and providing jobs. hopefully the city of detroit can continue to make progress in this area of sustainable living.

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