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CNN’s Anthony Bourdain in Detroit visits urban farm


Go to Minute 38:52 of the video.

“In Detroit the urban farm is really the last line of defence.”

CNN’s Parts Unknown
Season 2 – Detroit
Nov 10, 2013

Anthony Bourdain:
“In Detroit approximately 40 square miles have been reverted to basically unused green space. In many cities so-called urban farming may be looked upon by cynics like me as an affectation. Here in Detroit it’s not. With nature taking back the landscape block by block, the urban farm is really the last line of defence. D-Town sits of the western border of Detroit.”

Malik Yakini (MY)
Anthony Bourdain (AB)

AB: Where are we?

MY: We are in the largest park in the city which is called Rouge Park.

AB: Did you just start digging or do you have permission to come in?

MY: We have permission to come in.

AB: Was that difficult?

MY: It was very difficult. We negotiated with the city for two years. Part of the difficulty is that they didn’t know what hook to hang our request on. They are used to developers coming and saying, “I want to build a strip mall, or I want to build a parking structure, but they are not used to people saying, “We want land to build a model organic farm.”

AB: Malik Yakini started the farm with the goal of providing greater access to fresh produce in areas that grocery stores have completely abandoned. That’s basically all of Detroit’s inner city.

AB: Other than Whole Foods that just came in, not a single national food chain.

MY: In 2007 Farmer Jack closed their last stores in Detroit and that was sort of the end of the big chains in Detroit.

AB: This is subsistence farmer not cash crop, I mean you are not anticipating selling outside of Detroit?

MY: There is a greater demand in Detroit than all the farmers locally can supply, so we first want to supply that inner demand in the city of Detroit.

AB: To what degree do you think this model can be replicated in and around the city?

MY: Well clearly we think urban agriculture has great potential. One of the things we have in Detroit is access to a huge amount of land. If we are able to produce a small percentage of the food which is consumed in Detroit and circulate the revenue from that food in our community, then we are able to create a more vibrant healthy economy and strong community. So we think it has tremendous potential.

See D-Town Farm here.