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Documentary explores Hantz Farms ‘Land Grab’ in Detroit


“Land Grab” features interviews and footage — including some impressive drone shots — mostly collected between 2013 and 2015.

By Gus Burns
July 24, 2016


One of the opening scenes shows Hantz being grilled by opponents at a 2010 community meeting. A woman asks Hantz if his plan amounts to a “land grab.”

“It’s definitely a land grab,” Hantz responds. “You can’t farm without land.

“It’s sort of one of those great, tricky questions.”

Hantz, a 20-year resident of Detroit, said he came up with the idea on his daily commute out of the city on the way to his company offices in Southfield.

Barren city-owned lots, land with burned-up houses and trash filled his periphery on the way out of Detroit.

One compelling drone shot from the film shows a bird’s-eye-view contrast between where Hantz lives, along a street with opulent homes, and the barren, blighted landscape just blocks away.

Hantz initially wanted to purchase the land for urban farming — apples, carrots and other produce — but after years of battling legislators and bureaucrats — there are a lot of rules regulating farms — there was no end in sight. Hantz scrapped the urban farm idea and decided to simplify. He’d find something to grow that no one could argue over. Trees.

“Can anyone argue about trees,” Hantz said he thought at the time.

Read the complete article here.