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Friday, August 1, 2008

What is good about Detroit? Urban Farming and the total “Overgrow of the Government”.

Urban farming is a skill and hobby passed on to generations of Detroit residents. In the height of World War II, the federal government sponsored Victory Gardens in which homeowners were encouraged to grow a little garden in their back yards to help with the war effort. When people did not have to purchase food, the money went to the defense department in form of the auto plants being converted to the manufacturing of military hardware such as tanks, jeeps, and aircraft.

Hardcore Detroiters from Mayor Coleman Young days remember the ‘Farm A Lot’ program in which the city passed out seeds to residents at the neighborhood city halls. This was sponsored by the executive leadership of the City so that they can cultivate the neighborhoods and empty lots into food production centers.

As I was working in my garden, I was thinking aloud to myself about what’s GOOD about the City of Detroit.? The first thing that came to my mind is Eastern Market and the rich selection of Michigan grown plants, vegetables, and fruit. In the summer months, you can listen to live music, shop for food, have a good meal, and enjoy that atmosphere of being around people who like the same things you do.

And for a large number of Detroiters, urban farming was a way of life in addition to going to the market. Some people even sell their home grown food at the market. Nothing tastes better than some homegrown eastside sage cultivated south of 8 Mile Road and east of Woodward. The west side comes in with broccoli, potatoes and collard greens. Together with fresh mint, cabbage, corn, and other spices, Detroiters have been overgrowing the neighborhoods for years. Collectively, Detroit Residents can and will outgrow any agribusiness in the world.

Some people justified having dogs to protect the crops from ‘early picking’ by neighborhood kids and squirrels. When the crops were harvested, neighbors traded food between each other in a spirit of giving. Detroit residents carry on a rich tradition of growing fruits and vegetables in their own backyards. And as times get tough, growing your own food may become another vehicle to the revitalization of the Detroit. Before I end this article, I want someone to e-mail me the cost of food and vegetables among the bloggers. How much does it cost for 1 pound of tomatoes, 1 pound of corn, and pound of broccoli. And as I go through the responses, a winner will be selected to receive a gift certificate to shop at Eastern Market or any business in my district.

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