The urban gardening scene in Detroit has been making waves for a while, far beyond the city. It has been written up in thoughtful tomes about the city–books by good authors describing the challenges of a city that painfully downsized in the last 40 years. I met a Detroiter, an African-American musician, who talked a fair bit about them too, positively and with a smile of pride. The Kellogg Foundation has made a passionate effort to improve healthy food access as well, funding gardens as a way to promote health and community.
I am glad these are happening, here and everywhere. As to whether a once and still industrial city can be transformed into an urban gardening hub in the 21st century, I find that about impossible to imagine without some corporate-run farm scheme. What I do imagine are local efforts by residents to promote community pride and good food. Gardens will never restore Detroit to its former status, and they will not create a middle class that is disappearing. They do represent a good thing, that diamond in the rough, and hope is always a good thing.
For more on Detroit’s illustrious urban garden history that precedes all urban gardening movements by a century, read up on Mayor Pingree’s Patches (great story, and history is now repeating itself).
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