Detroit has an estimated 40 square miles of vacant property — more than 25,000 acres
Work crews clear out an empty lot in Detroit. Photo by Carlos Osorio.
Farming invades Detroit – Triscuit and nonprofit group combine efforts
May 22, 2010
A nonprofit that puts vacant urban land to use for growing food will kick off work next week on one of several new community gardens it’s planning for the Detroit area under a nationwide partnership with Kraft Foods Inc.’s Triscuit brand.
In Detroit, residents increasingly are working to transform vacant, often-blighted land into gardens and small farms. Urban Farming has been part of that push since 2005, when it put its first gardens in the ground.
The group currently has gardens at about 90 Detroit-area sites, Sevelle said. Along with one at the city’s Northwest Activity Center, the Triscuit partnership is planning five other community gardens in Detroit and the suburbs of Farmington Hills and Wayne.
A mix that includes Urban Farming employees, volunteers and people doing community service tends the group’s gardens. Area residents are asked to help decide what to plant, and they’re encouraged to pick from the garden. Urban Farming also donates some produce to food pantries.
A neighbourhood garden in Detroit contrasts with commercial buildings. Photo by Carlos Osorio.
At the group’s largest garden, which stretches for a full city block, 65-year-old Rose Stallard is among the local residents who volunteer each year. She’s lived in the neighborhood since 1952, when homes and apartments stood on land that this year will produce rows of greens, tomatoes and peppers.
“Instead of being an eyesore, the blessing has been they have given back to the community with the garden,” Stallard said.