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Plowing Over: Can Urban Farming Save Detroit and Other Declining Cities? Will the Law Allow It?

East Side, Detroit 2008. Photo by James Griffioen.

American Bar Association weighs in

By Kristin Choo
American Bar Association Journal
Aug 1, 2011


But Orsi of the Sustainable Economies Law Center suggests that urban agriculture is just one part of what should be a larger movement toward sustainable approaches to food production. She argues that the best place to grow food is on the outskirts of cities, where densities are low enough to allow larger farms that are close enough to urban centers to avoid the energy costs of long-distance transport.

“It may not be the case that we always use vacant lots to grow food in cities, because those spaces are likely to be transformed into housing as the urban populations grow,” Orsi says. “However, there will always be some amount of space that we intentionally leave green, and I do think that a lot more of that will be used for food production—back and front yards, in particular.”

In the meantime, the issue is keeping at least a few lawyers busy. “Lately, I’ve been getting calls because I have the reputation for being the ‘go-to’ person on these matters,” Orsi says. “I wouldn’t say it is a good way to earn money, but it’s a great way to earn kale—and a lot of good will in the community.”

Read the complete article here.

1 comment

1 carolyn { 07.30.11 at 10:09 am }

hmmmm, the guy who wrote Forget Urban Farms- We Need a Wal-Mart needs to have his head examined. nobody needs a Wal-Mart. in fact, one of the benefits of urban farming not mentioned in this article might be the rebirth of communities with strong enough local economies that they can ignore the shopping malls