[permaculture] BBC NEWS | Problems w/ Urban farming in Detroit

trevor william johnson john2116 at msu.edu
Fri Jul 11 20:37:23 EDT 2008


I am from detroit and have worked with this woman and i feel i should  
share my experience.  her gardening methods are dangerous.  she has  
lays landscape fabric down, then compost and then plants a garden.   
lead is a huge problem in detroit and she has not taken that into  
consideration in garden placement.  she is poisoning one of the most  
vulnerable populations in detroit...impoverished urban people.  i  
read the story and it appears she has people and community behind  
her.  this all happens after the garden is created.  this is not a  
grassroots effort but a top down ego-fest.  she has even gone so far  
as to bad mouth two amazing grass roots organizations the Greening of  
Detroit and the Detroit Agriculture Network.

trevor



On Jul 10, 2008, at 10:52 PM, Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:

>
> <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7495717.stm>
> Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 11:59 UK
> Urban farming takes root in Detroit
>
> By Matthew Wells
> BBC News, Detroit
>
> Could growing fresh vegetables help save crumbling inner cities  
> around the world and tackle hunger?
>
> Reginald Moore and Rod Shepard hoe the ground
> Putting in the spade-work at one of the charity's gardens
>
> That is the ambitious aim of a charity called Urban Farming, which  
> has its headquarters in Detroit, the capital of the
> US's wilting car industry.
>
> The idea is very simple: turn wasteland into free vegetable gardens  
> and feed the poor people who live nearby.
>
> Motown has lost more than a million residents since its heyday in  
> the 1950s and it is common to see downtown residential
> streets with just a few houses left standing.
>
> Taja Sevelle saw the hundreds of hectares of vacant land in the  
> city and came up with the idea of creating an organic
> self-help movement that would be "affordable (and) practical".
>
> Beginning three years ago, armed with $5,000 (£2,500) and a  
> pamphlet, the singer and entrepreneur managed to win a wide
> cross-section of support around the city. Now her charity is  
> expanding across the US.
>
> Ms Sevelle is also keen to discuss her ideas with the new Mayor of  
> London, Boris Johnson.
>
> With a handful of full-time staff, Urban Farming co-ordinates the  
> cultivation of what amounts to 500 family-sized
> gardens across Detroit.
>
> No greed
>
> Visiting one of the largest allotments, on a site that had been  
> derelict since Detroit's infamous 1967 riots, locals
> spoke about an astonishing transformation.
>
> Derelict building overgrown with weeds and vegetation in Detroit
> Derelict streets highlight Detroit's tough past and present
>
> "There is something that every hand in this area can do," said Rose  
> Stallard, who is keen to enlist as many volunteers
> as possible to help tend the garden and its precious crops.
>
> As she organises a band of eager helpers to pull greens from the  
> rich top-soil, Ms Stallard says food is more expensive
> than ever and neighbourhood shops are scarce.
>
> "That's one cucumber you didn't have to pay 69 cents for," she  
> adds, with a smile.
>
> There are no fences but one local said greed had not been a problem.
>
> "People are only taking what they need, because they know it's for  
> everybody," he said.
>
> Collective wisdom
>
> Many of the regular gardeners come from rehabilitation programmes  
> linked to the county jail.
>
> Offenders say they have earned self-respect, as well as local  
> thanks, for literally doing the spade-work.
>
> "It's good for me to know that I'm helping somebody, instead of  
> hurting somebody," said Reginald Moore.
>
> Taja and Rose discuss crops
> Taja Sevelle and Rose Stallard are keen to expand their work
>
> "All this is positive. Next year, you'll see this all over," added  
> Rod Shepard.
>
> Providing free food on the doorstep brings people together and  
> spreads collective wisdom, according to local city hall
> manager Gail Carr.
>
> "Fresh fruits and vegetables are something that we all need. And we  
> really, really need to educate our children in that
> area.
>
> "If we don't, we're going to have a lost generation to many  
> diseases such as diabetes," she said.
>
> The local sheriff's liaison officer, Beth Roberts, said that crime  
> figures had improved wherever Urban Farming took root.
>
> Growing crops also marked a return to slower but better times, she  
> said.
>
> "We used to do this in our backyards. This used to be a culture, a  
> way of life, so we're restoring that through urban
> farming."
>
> Future plans
>
> As the charity expands, it remains to be seen if enough local  
> people will do the groundwork to keep the gardens blooming.
>
> Showing off prize greens from a Detroit urban farm
> Time to benefit from all the hard work
> But the idea of permanent social change, away from the old  
> industrial core, is something that Detroit sorely needs,
> according to the editorial page editor of the Detroit News, Nolan  
> Finley.
>
> "Today's reality is that we have a lot of vacant space, and not  
> much economic opportunity," he said.
>
> "You could have urban farming - you could have livestock in some of  
> these stretches of empty land.
>
> "You could reforest it into tree farms so you're not maintaining a  
> sidewalk, a power line, for a street that has two
> houses on it."
>
> The conversion from Motown to Growtown may seem far-fetched, but  
> given Detroit's economic woes, marketable ideas are in
> big demand.
>
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> FOOD PRICE CRISIS
>
> KEY STORIES
> Stop wasting food, Brown urging
> China to increase grain output
> Pakistan's poor hit as food prices soar
> Long era of cheap food is over
> Corn prices surge to record high
> UN plan to increase food supplies
> FEATURES
> Indian child Face of hunger
> Malnutrition worsens with rising prices in India
> Biofuel: Hero to zero?
> Ethiopia's 'green' drought
> Tortilla price shock
> Could GM crops help feed Africa?
> BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS
> Challenges for the food summit
> Cost of food facts
> Q&A: Rising world food prices
>
> PERSONAL STORIES
> Impact on six families
> HAVE YOUR SAY
> Should we try to waste less food?
>
> RELATED BBC LINKS
> Growing fruit and vegetables
>
> RELATED INTERNET LINKS
> Urban Farming
> Food Up Front
> Sustain
> Growing Power
>
>
>
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