Detroit Citizens Turn to Urban Gardening

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In the July issue of Harpers magazine, writer Rebecca Solnit explored modern-day Detroit and found that the wilderness was returning to the city’s many abandoned buildings and empty lots. Her piece, “Detroit Arcadia: Exploring the Post-American Landscape” (unfortunately available only to subscribers), showed how some city dwellers were reclaiming those empty lots by turning them into urban community gardens. While Solnit’s piece was rightfully dinged in letters to the editor for being too optimistic that these activities would somehow lift all those living in Detroit out of poverty, the idea (and photographs) of new life returning to what was once one of the most populous cities in America is fascinating.

Now the Detroit Free Press offers a more down-to-earth take on the city’s gardens and microfarms in a piece published late last month. Click through to read about urban farms in old, roofless factories, and how the city and foundations actively support the new farming methods.

[photo by lucag]

One thought on “Detroit Citizens Turn to Urban Gardening

  1. Lorey 09/29/2009 / 12:52 pm

    “read about urban farms in old, roofless factories, and how the city and foundations actively support the new farming methods” – am I the only person disturbed and concerned about people consuming food that was grown in old, roofless factories? I hope some MAJOR soil remediation was done first! Concept is great, but it seems that there is disconnect between the urban ag movement and some basics about why urban sprawl is bad (aka- taking over farmland and polluting it with urban uses).
    Urban reuse is necessary, I’m not blind to that. But agricultural use on probable toxic sites is irresponsible for the health of those that will be consuming what is grown there. Make it a different type of greenspace and actively remediate the soil! Perhaps in a decade or 2, if there is no other potential reuse, then look into making it a farm…

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