What is the first thing you think of when you hear the city of Detroit? An urban area with blocks and blocks of unused land? Well, did you ever think that land can be used as a contributing factor in Michigan’s agricultural business? Malik Yakini, founder of D-Town Farms, believes agriculture is “a vital part to re-envisioning a city like Detroit” (“D-Town Farms”). For example, D-Town Farms “is a two acre urban farm” that sells produce to “Eastern Market and urban growers markets throughout Detroit” (The Detroit News). The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) helped create D-Town Farms, in addition to many other programs that encourage urban farming. Recently, The W. K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek has granted DBCFSN a $750,000 grant to fund programs similar to D-Town Farm..
In a recent National Public Radio article, Erica Yoon features Detroit as a leader in the growing urban farming trend. The urban city is using agriculture to improve not only its image, but the circumstances of all those who live there. Urban farming is an example of an entire community working together to benefit each other. Malik Yakini explains that he is concerned about “food access and food quality in the city of Detroit, and one of the ways to address this problem is by having small-scale urban, organic farming right in the city,” (“D-Town Farms”). In addition, D-Town Farms also encourages the youth to volunteer and Yakini says, “What’s most important is the seeds that we’re planting in people’s consciousness and the model that we are creating so we can change people’s thinking on what a city is,” (“D-Town Farms”). What better way to do this than with the children of Detroit, some of whom are already lacking easy access to fresh produce, in addition to an education that teaches them the importance of farming.
In 2008, leaders of Detroit, with the help of DBCFSN, were able to develop a food security policy in the city, which can be found on their website, DetroitBlackFoodSecurity.org. This network also works to reduce the number of households in Michigan who live with hunger of the threat of hunger. One way to ensure every child gets to eat, DBCFSN believes, is to implement a policy that states, “Every school should have a school garden that can provide food for their lunches” (“Creating a Food Secure Detroit”). With the help of the community, Detroit is, as Yoon puts it, using “resilience” and “opportunity” to turn the city around (Yoon).
Yoon, Erica. “Taking Detroit Into Their Own Hands.” NPR.org. 11 Aug. 2013. National Public Radio. 13 Aug. 2013. http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2013/08/11/209176616/taking-detroit- into-their-own-hands
“Creating a Food Secure Detroit.” 2013. DetroitBlackFoodSecurity.org. 13 Aug. 2013. Detroit Black Food Security. http://detroitblackfoodsecurity.org/index.html
“D-Town Farms.” DesigningHealthyCommunities.org. 2013. Designing Healthy Communities. 13 Aug. 2013.