My Grandma, The Urban Farmer
She started her garden in Detroit in 1962, when she moved to her current house.
By Amanda Lewan
November 8th, 2012
She may not strike you as a farmer, this 80-year-old woman who lives in a rundown area of Detroit’s East Side.
But Lyla Hadad has been tending a large garden filled with vegetables next to her two-story wood frame home for 50 years, and passing out the bounty to people in her neighborhood around Chalmers and E. Warren Avenue.
The area surrounding her garden are hardly bucolic.
Across the street is an empty house and the charred remains of a burned-out building. Next door is a dilapidated apartment that’s often used by drug dealers.
She’ll tell you how the neighborhood fell apart, the homes emptying one by one, for years.
“You could see each house getting boarded up,” she said. “The city only cared about keeping downtown.”
Her blue house is chipped and faded. There are bars on the windows, and she has a guard dog, Spooky, a black Lab. She refuses to leave.
“It’s going to end up that I’ll be the only house left in Detroit, but I’m gonna die here,” she says.