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For These Urban Farmers, the Harvest Is About More Than Healthy Eating

(Photo by Piper Carter)

Summer is usually the most exciting season for a gardener, but for many of Detroit’s black farmers, the harvest is also about survival.

By Damon Mitchell
Next City
September 12, 2017


“Farming is a lost art, a skill in black culture that disappeared after the Great Migration,” says Sun. “Now it’s time for us to get those farming skills back. Pass them down to our sons.”

Sun has spent time in both the juvenile and adult prison system, which ultimately ended up connecting him back to the gardening roots he formed as a child.

“In prison, I ended up dealing with a lot of the lifers and their garden plots, helping them out, building with them. That allowed me to eat. I found that you could eat better out of the garden than you could out of the chow hall,” he explains. “That’s what brought me back to farming.”

Since its start in 2011, NOS has been rather successful for an independent farm without corporate or foundation backing. Cole says she and Sun have applied for grant funding in the past, and received donations from neighbors, family and friends, but that the farm is mostly self-funded. During the school year, Cole works as an elementary school math teacher. Sun has an entrepreneurial spirit and frequently gets contracts for home renovation projects.

Read the complete article here.