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12 Aug

Urban Farming May Save Detroit

This rooftop garden is an example of the type of urban growing that could save Detroit. This rooftop garden is an example of the type of urban growing that could save Detroit.


The stark landscape of abandoned houses, empty lots, and forgotten businesses that has epitomized Detroit for over a decade threatened to become the municipality's lasting legacy this July. With virtually no industry and 150,000 parcels of land vacated, the city filed for bankruptcy after years of shortfall and a deficit estimated at $20 billion.

Although the metropolis seemed destined to stay at rock bottom, an ordinance passed by local officials to allow rezoning of urban areas for agriculture may be part of the city's saving grace. The bounty of unused land and low property prices have turned it into a haven for urban farmers who now use residential areas to grow produce for local markets.

Farm-fresh produce grown in Detroit's urban areas has been projected to create up to 4,700 jobs and $20 million in business taxes. If done right, the city could become part of the nation's $8 billion retail agriculture industry. Local businesses sprouting up since the ordinance include Hantz Farms, which plans to make Detroit's East Side the world's largest urban farm, and CDC Farm and Fishery, a 6,000 square foot aquaponics facility.

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You can't keep the Rock City down. Detroit will rise!
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