News / USA

Urban Farming Grows in Detroit

Detroit is a U.S. city that has been hit hard by poverty and dilapidation in recent decades.  But its citizens are working on a grassroots strategy to rejuvenate their city with urban farming. Urban farms and gardens are popping up all over the city.

Jackie Hunt comes to garden at D-Town Farm in Detroit just about every day. She says growing produce is gratifying.

"You want to grow some of those big luscious tomatoes," said Hunt.  "You want to get the red, red tomatoes that do not have the cracks in the top and the things on the bottom; you want to grow one of those.  At least I do.  I want to be able to say, 'Look, I grew this. Isn't this something?'"

D-Town is a 1.6-hectare farm that grows 35 different kinds of fruit and vegetables. Volunteers plant the farm together and in return get a discount on produce. Hunt says the aim is to give Detroit's residents access to fresh food.

"One of the things we can do by doing this, by having people who don't farm, who don't have gardens in the back yard, have them come out here and see how easy it is to plant whatever it is that's planted," she added.  "It's like simple.  You can do it in the back yard. You can grow enough in the back yard to feed everybody."

And the farm serves another purpose:  it unites the community.  Local residents help out at the farm and that's important for the area, says Kwamena Mensah, D-Town's manager.

"When there is a community project going on, then the kids, they feel a sense of ownership," said Mensah.  "They will look out if people just dump tires and stuff in the garden . They won't let people steal the produce and everything. There are a lot of good things happening as a result of urban farming in this city."

D-Town is not alone.  There are urban gardens all over Detroit - outside of offices, churches, at community centers.  Some grow produce for sale, but for many, that is not the main aim.

Patrick Crouch manages another urban farm called Earthworks.

"They are really focused not necessarily on production, but on [there] being a space in which folks can grow food for their families and themselves," said Crouch.  "Their focus is often times on community building, working with youth. It really depends on their location what their focus is, but they are all over the place. It's hard to go very far without noticing one."   

Crouch says poverty in Detroit has helped to spur urban food-growing.  Dilapidated buildings are common and there are large tracts of unused space around the city, which he says are ideal for urban farming.  But he says Detroit is not the only city where this is going on.

"We see urban agriculture across the United States, in almost every metropolitan city," added Crouch.  "It's becoming very important. You see it in cities like Oakland and St. Louis and New York and Boston, so it's very common."

But with farms like D-Town around the city, Crouch says Detroit is at the vanguard of the movement.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid