Connect with us

Science

Urban Agriculture as Job Creators

Published

on

Something strange is going on in downtown Detroit. People are growing things again.

In fact, the burgeoning urban farm movement in the Motor City has attracted the attention of Bloomberg News, when correspondent Alan Bjerga traveled to profile Greg Willerer of Brother Nature Farms:

“For all intents and purposes, there is no government here,” said Willerer, 43, checking the greens and other crops he is growing on an acre off Rosa Parks Boulevard, across from an abandoned house with broken windows. “If something were to happen we have to handle that ourselves.”
Of course the story of young idealists growing veggies on abandoned lots has been around a while, and MNN has explored the Detroit urban farming scene too. But what is becoming abundantly clear, and is touched on in Bjerga’s interviews with community leaders, economic development specialists and academics, is that this isn’t simply a few hipsters indulging a utopianist fantasy:

Converting some of that land to farming could clean up blight and grow jobs, regional officials say. With sufficient consumer demand and the emergence of a local food-processing industry, 4,700 jobs and $20 million in business taxes could be generated, according to a 2009 study.“It will help,” said Mike DiBernardo, an economic development specialist with Michigan’s agriculture department. “We have so much blighted land that we can create opportunities for entrepreneurs, and we can give people in the community something to be excited about.”

Urban farmers are busy growing solutions to deep seated urban problems. And planners and policy makers are beginning to take note.

Hotbed of ingenuity

This is a story that’s playing out in fits and starts, and in various different guises, around the world. The New York Times recently ran an article on how Jamaica is combating food insecurity through backyard farming and school gardens. Meanwhile high-tech rooftop farms and former warehouses turned aquaponic farms are springing up in cities across America. Only yesterday I was talking to a representative of Raleigh City Farm here in North Carolina, who noted how businesses were coming back to the shop fronts around their once abandoned lot. (The farm is cooperating closely with property owners and businesses in the area, with an aim to maximizing potential synergies.)

These ventures are creating real jobs, and making fresh food available, in neighborhoods that have often been neglected by planners. True, it’s unlikely that urban agriculture will ever compete with its rural counterpart in terms of sheer volume of food grown or conomies of scale — but it doesn’t have to.


Be informed and inspired.  Sign up and become a collaborator in creation of sustainable systems of service.

 Sign up today!


 

Successful urban farmers are nimble, resourceful and thrifty as heck — utilizing waste resources from the urban environment, and taking advantage of their small scale to reduce the need for mechanization and/or expensive chemical inputs — replacing them instead with human labor and ingenuity, both in ready supply in the city.

Here’s a video from 2011 on the aforementioned Brother Nature Farms, made by the inimitable Perennial Plate. Note how Greg Willerer is collecting “donations” of soil (and future soil!) from zoos, hotels and coffee shops around him. That’s not corporate philanthropy at work — it’s businesses investing in the community around them because they expect to see a return.

If the Bloomberg article is anything to go by, they already have.

HEROES4 days ago

Right Livelihood Awards Announced: System Change is Not Only Possible, But Necessary

HEROES4 days ago

Inspiring the Next Generation of Changemakers

HEROES5 days ago

Make Love Go Viral: Somalian Peacemakers

HEROES5 days ago

Energy as a Public Service

HEROES5 days ago

Honoring Cooperatives

HEROES5 days ago

Ukranian Human Rights Defenders

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Understanding the Great Transition

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Information, Communications, Media

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Consumption, Materials and Resources

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Food and Agriculture

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Transforming Health

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Education for a New World

Featured2 weeks ago

The Transformation of Energy and Transportation Systems

The Great Transition3 weeks ago

Going forward: A realistic action plan

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Policy1 month ago

NO TO NUKES: Non-proliferation treaty conference ends in failure, ban treaty shows the way forward

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Innovation without Borders

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Information without Borders

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Affordable and Renewable Clean Energy

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Resources and Materials

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Improved Food Systems

Build for Change2 months ago

Why Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet Will Take Us to Our Cliff of Doom and How We Can Prevent It

Featured2 months ago

Indigenous rice out-performs commercial varieties in nutrition value and tolerance to drought, flood, extreme weather

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

Reviving Jordan’s community, resilience and food sovereignty through urban wheat cultivation

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

An organic farming revolution in Thailand

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Heart Attacks Are Not Worth Dying For

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Rethink: Humanity’s Next Operating System

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

Food and Land2 months ago

Understanding the Roots of the Food Crises and Preventing Future Crises: Resilience and a Deep Dive

Editorials2 months ago

Another Conference is not going to save us:

A web of Life for ALL Life2 months ago

Truths or Consequences

Build for Change2 months ago

The launch of “Rights of the Atlantic Ocean” campaign in Newfoundland

Build for Change2 months ago

What’s really going on in the Brazilian Rainforests?

Editorials2 months ago

To Save the Planet, Forget About the Globe (And Act Locally)

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Rethink X4 months ago

Out of Chaos Comes Creation: Understanding Transformation of Civilizations

Rethink X4 months ago

Understanding the Repeating Patterns of History: Growth / Collapse / Transformation

Mobilized News Network7 months ago

Clarity Above all Else

Paradigm Change7 months ago

Nuremberg Prosecutor at 102: Make Law, Not War.

INTERVIEWS8 months ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Paradigm Change8 months ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

Arts9 months ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

A web of Life for ALL Life10 months ago

We are One

Mobilized TV10 months ago

How we can eradicate heart Disease

Mobilized TV10 months ago

Howard Bloom: Imagination Takes You Everywhere

Featured10 months ago

From Punk to Planet: Slam Dunk the Junk with Dave Street

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A Moral Responsibility: Jean Su, Ctr. for Biological Diversity

Mobilized TV11 months ago

On Free Speech TV: Rethinking Humanity with James Arbib of RethinkX

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Sustainable Architecture, Design and Building for a Sustainable Planet

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A better understanding of lawn care for Climate Care featuring Dr. Rob Moir of the Ocean River Institute

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Stories from the Reservation: Davidica Little Spotted Horse

The News without the Noise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translate »