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Why it’s important for black farmers to take the lead on Detroit’s urban farms

Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. Photo by Tom Perkins.

What black organizations like Neighborhood B.U.G. and their allies are trying to do is, in part, restore ownership for a heritage of farming and gardening that never went away, but was overlooked, perhaps even within the community itself.

By Brian Allnutt
Detroit Metro Times
June 14, 2017

Excerpt:

Thorpe from Neighborhood B.U.G. says that the perception of his organization really changed when people realized it was being run by African-Americans. “In the beginning we had a couple of problems because people didn’t know who we were,” he says. “They thought we were probably a white organization. … Now we don’t have anything locked up, we don’t have any fences. … The community is just receptive because they see nothing but blacks, young black people out there gardening and it makes people stop, from old to young.”

Thorpe feels that this receptiveness comes from a sense that his group isn’t imposing anything on the neighborhood, but responding to its specific challenges — things outsiders might not understand. He speaks of the hunger and desperation that many people feel and the amount of talent that goes to waste, especially among young men, which he says sometimes makes them feel forced into crime. “They haven’t had the opportunities of other races,” he says. “My job is to show you there’s nothing wrong with your aim, I just got to change your target.”

Read the complete article here.