Discuss Detroit Ľ DISCUSS DETROIT! Ľ The environmental hypocrisy of urban farming ę Previous Next Ľ
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Benfield
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Post Number: 143
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 2:23 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When I was in elementary school, my best friendís mom drove a Land Rover with a Greenpeace and Sierra Club stickers on the rear window. Itís always been symbolic of a lack of seriousness about environmental issues. Laurie David is silly to buy recycled toilet paper and also fly around California in private jets. Urban farming is quickly replacing Mrs. Michelsonís window stickers as the new benchmark of environmental hypocrisy.

Iíve always found the idea suspect because what is the net environmental benefit of growing tomatoes on urban brownfields while efficient family farms are paved over to make new suburbs further away from central cities. Environmentalist and economists are now providing the data to support my assertion. Of course thereís no harm in a backyard garden or community garden on an odd empty lot but itís a false notion to thing we can save the earth by growing corn in the hood.

In truth we need taller, denser, and less rustic cities if are serious about a sustainable co-existence with nature. And if you want local food, then we should grow it in Chesterfield Township, Farmington Hills, and Saline. Like we used to.

From todayís New York Times:

quote:

In almost every metropolitan area, we found the central city residents emitted less carbon than the suburban counterparts. In New York and San Francisco, the average urban family emits more than two tons less carbon annually because it drives less. In Nashville, the city-suburb carbon gap due to driving is more than three tons. After all, density is the defining characteristic of cities. All that closeness means that people need to travel shorter distances, and that shows up clearly in the data.

While public transportation certainly uses much less energy, per rider, than driving, large carbon reductions are possible without any switch to buses or rails. Higher-density suburban areas, which are still entirely car-dependent, still involve a lot less travel than the really sprawling places. This fact offers some hope for greens eager to reduce carbon emissions, since it is a lot easier to imagine Americans driving shorter distances than giving up their cars.

But cars represent only one-third of the gap in carbon emissions between New Yorkers and their suburbanites. The gap in electricity usage between New York City and its suburbs is also about two tons. The gap in emissions from home heating is almost three tons. All told, we estimate a seven-ton difference in carbon emissions between the residents of Manhattanís urban aeries and the good burghers of Westchester County. Living surrounded by concrete is actually pretty green. Living surrounded by trees is not.

The policy prescription that follows from this is that environmentalists should be championing the growth of more and taller skyscrapers. Every new crane in New York City means less low-density development. The environmental ideal should be an apartment in downtown San Francisco, not a ranch in Marin County.



http://economix.blogs.nytimes. com/2009/03/10/the-lorax-was-w rong-skyscrapers-are-green/
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Oldredfordette
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 2:31 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What you are saying is people are stupid for using empty land to grow things? Are they asking you for money? We should tear down the subdivisions of Farmington Hills to grow tomatoes? (it was mostly horse farms in FH, for the record). It's hypocritical for people like the Georgia Community to try and have a sustainable neighborhood?

Is it possible to both be for the family farm and grow sunflowers in the urban prairie? Or can't you hold two thoughts at once?
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Bearinabox
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 2:39 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree that, in an ideal world, we would have densely developed cities that end at the city limits, with productive farmland starting at the city limits and extending in every direction. I think the whole idea of urban farming is more of a stopgap designed to make the most of the fucked-up development pattern we've created for ourselves.

One random guy living at Chene and Ferry isn't going to convince an entire subdivision in Orion Township to move into his neighborhood and allow their subdivision to revert to farmland, but he can grow himself some fresh fruits and veggies that the party store on the corner doesn't sell.

Is it ideal? No. Is it a more productive undertaking for our hypothetical urban prairie-dweller than sitting around waiting for the world to un-suburbanize itself? I think so.
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Pam
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 2:40 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Of course thereís no harm in a backyard garden or community garden on an odd empty lot but itís a false notion to thing we can save the earth by growing corn in the hood.



They are growing food "in the hood" to eat it in the hood. Who said anything about "saving the Earth"?
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Benfield
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Post Number: 144
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 2:40 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Community gardens like Georgia Street are fine but without sustainable regional growth plans that encourage density and true urban living, community gardens are as significant spitting into the desert.

quote:

Is it possible to both be for the family farm and grow sunflowers in the urban prairie? Or can't you hold two thoughts at once?



I'm saying that environmentalism is really the economic law of scarcity in practice. There is limited land and resources and a seemingly unlimited demand. Cities are made to be dense and efficient places for human society. The urban prairie would be best reclaimed for human life not sunflowers planted by hippie-drippy book traders living in northern Macomb County.

See Youngstown 2010. Metro Detroit needs a similar regional planning process. http://www.youngstown2010.com/ preface/preface.htm
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 1318
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 2:48 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I'm saying that environmentalism is really the economic law of scarcity in practice. There is limited land and resources and a seemingly unlimited demand. Cities are made to be dense and efficient places for human society. The urban prairie would be best reclaimed for human life not sunflowers planted by hippie-drippy book traders living in northern Macomb County.

See Youngstown 2010. Metro Detroit needs a similar regional planning process. http://www.youngstown2010.com/ preface/preface.htm

I can't argue with that. Regional planning is one of the biggest things we're missing around here. SEMCOG is a fucking joke, all they do is sit around and make self-fulfilling "predictions" that the region is going to keep sprawling outward, and that in response to that "growth" we need more highways in Lapeer County. And there is a certain irony in the prospect of driving 30 miles each way to save the earth by planting flowers in someone else's neighborhood.

So, Benfield, let me ask you this: how do you think we should go about establishing that kind of regional planning process, given the nature of regional politics in SE Michigan? I have no idea where to start.
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Detmsp
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 3:00 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

this is the most ridiculous argument i've read in in a long time. Sure city dwellers emit less carbon than suburban dwellers because they drive less... but your argument only holds water if people are living in the suburbs because they are forced to due to a lack of available housing/land in the city caused by urban farms.


"honey, i'd love to live in detroit, but there is just nowhere to live with all those urban farms! I'm sorry... but we're going to have to move to wixom... there just isn't another option! if only we could move those urban farms to wixom so that there could be room for a new building in detroit, but alas, the city is at capacity because of those damn farms!"
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Benfield
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Post Number: 145
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 3:42 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

So, Benfield, let me ask you this: how do you think we should go about establishing that kind of regional planning process, given the nature of regional politics in SE Michigan? I have no idea where to start.



I would start by ignoring those misguided voices who argue for large scale urban farming as a proper use for Detroit's vacant space. I would start by demanding that Detroit officials take regionally planning seriously. Tom Barwin was basically told to fuck off when he approached Maryann Mahaffey and other city leaders about reforming SEMCOG to give Detroit a stronger voice.

Detmsp if right that no one is not moving to the city because someone is growing lettuce on the site of an old gas station but she's right on an irrelevant point. A comprehensive urban farming initiative won't be part of solution for the city or the planet. They divert resources (philanthropic funding, man hours, etc) from efforts that would actually create a sustainable and green city, like fixing the schools so the city is attractive to families again.
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6nois
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Post Number: 814
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 8:09 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The problem here is that there is a miscommunication in scale. Urban farming and gardening and the idea of using Detroit's open land for productive means is a corrective measure for what has happened and how things are. Unfortunately it is the way it is, and there is no legal way to force people to move however there are ways to influence a more dense Detroit, but there are larger issues. The most we can do is use the land in a productive way now, the beauty of urban farming is that it is not permanent it can be easily developed should the need arise. Even in the process of making Detroit more dense there is such a large land mass in the city there is room for us to produce our own food, as well as have an urban vibrant community. And contrary to your thoughts most farming in the city is run by city residents and people who live near the gardens themselves. The farming in a sense can be thought of as a micro scale planning idea.

The macro scale is what you suggest the creation of a regional development plan. Policy that encourages the region to maintain its size and not continue to expand. This is the macro scale of planning its the larger picture.

In the end both must happen in conjunction for success. What you have done is a gross misrepresentation of what the ideas behind urban farming are about. You have over simplified the ideas to the point where one is right and one is wrong and there is not grey area in reality it will take a combination of plans and systems to make Detroit a better region. The best Detroit it can be. And means we have to live with the choices of the past, there is not much we can do to totally alter it, but we can improve the choices and make things better for all of us.
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Novine
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Post Number: 1240
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 9:51 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"A comprehensive urban farming initiative won't be part of solution for the city or the planet."

Benfield, of all of the things that are screwed up about Detroit and SE Michigan, this is what you choose to get yourself worked up about? Name one major organization that's advocating for a "comprehensive urban farming initiative"? Name one example of a large-scale urban farming effort in Detroit? Even Trainman directs his rants against something that actually exists in the real world. You're railing against something that isn't even a real issue.
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Benfield
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Post Number: 146
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 10:04 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

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?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ame ricas/7495717.stm

Urban Farming May Well Hold The Key To The Future Of Detroit
By Nolan Finley / The Detroit News
Sunday, March 13, 2005

http://www.cityfarmer.org/detr oit.html

Can Farming Take Root In Detroit?
quote:

Detroit think tanks such as the Grace Lee Boggs Center and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Architecture have talked about creating mass urban agricultural communes on stretches of unused land.

The Adamah project was born out of UD-Mercy. The idea is to create a cooperative and productive urban farm on sparsely-populated land on the eastside of Detroit, from the Detroit River to Interstate 94 near E. Grand Boulevard. Adamah envisions a working farm with co-op living and working arrangement to help tend greenhouses for veggies, fruits and flowers; a forest and lumber mill; cattle, grazing land and a dairy; a shrimp farm and other projects.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =0JvUQxsU8jc
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Novine
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Post Number: 1241
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 10:24 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

3 articles? Now that's what I call a movement.

The only one that actually showed people gardening is on a vacant lot, which you claimed you didn't oppose. Let me know when you find that urban farm in Detroit that's holding up development.
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Jcole
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Post Number: 6090
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 10:26 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A SHRIMP farm? Give me an f'ing break. How about a school that has all of its windows intact instead?
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Sludgedaddy
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Post Number: 308
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Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 10:47 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit needs new leadership headed by a Pharoah.Imagine massive pubic works projects to build a huge pyramid on any given urban prairie.

This may inspire Urban Aztecs to mull the idea of their getting a piece of the action. Neo-Mayans and Hipster Incas would soon follow.

"Onward Christian Soldiers" would be replaced by a new city council singing an Anthem to the Sun. Instead of Urban Farming young suburbanites could be attracted to the City to become willing human sacrifices or to the non Vegan...tasty treats for a possible begining of Urban Cannibalism to bolster the sagging economy.
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Reddog289
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Post Number: 981
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 12:03 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

While I would like to see thriving neighborhoods in the city and less of the suburban/rural farmland and woods plowed over, A urban farm or community garden is a lot better then a pile of trash on a vacant lot.There needs to be more cooperation between all in the region, not the us vs them mentality.
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Dannyv
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Post Number: 610
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 12:47 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Pharoah? Pharoah? Did someone say Pharoah?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =ZfqCyfCOaa4&feature=related
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Jerome81
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 1:02 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Carbon is not a pollutant.

Problem solved.

Otherwise lets stop having kids. Maybe pull a China and every family gets 1. Free contraception for anyone who wants it. Also, lets ban any homes over 2000 square feet. 3 person families don't need that. We should also all be forced to become vegetarians, cuz animals emit a lot of greenhouse gas. Thermostats cannot be set over 65 in the winter and under 80 in the summer. Actually we should probably stop using A/C since we don't REALLY need it, and it uses a lot of electricity produced by emitting carbon. We should also ban the sale of cars, and not allow any travel beyond walking and riding a bike.

I could go on. Nobody is dying because of carbon dioxide. This isn't smog, diesel particulates, asbestos type air pollution. Its a harmless gas.

Unfortunately environmental extremists are in charge of the federal government, so we're gonna be forced to eat this garbage for insane amounts of money, not to mention job losses (especially in a production state like Michigan...sorry, but when you build something, you're gonna pollute). All those "green" office jobs are supported with steel, cars, paper, electricity, etc. Somebody has to make that stuff. If we don't, China or India or Mexico will, and you know their pollution controls are far lower than the United States. So get ready, because the gov seems hell bent to jam this through, no matter how bad the economy is or how many jobs will be lost. I'm sure the "green economy" job creation numbers don't include those jobs lost due to the same initiative.

Maybe I'm just an a-hole, but I think cars, power plants, steel mills, jet airplanes, computers, televisions, roads, trains, and everything else we use on a daily basis are what help make life as great as it is. I'll keep all this stuff in exchange for a bit more harmless gas in the atmosphere before I'll ever consider going back to sustenance farming just to save the earth. And those folks who preach the environmental extremism should think about this for just 2 seconds. They drive cars, they eat food, they wear clothes, they use electricity, they drive a Prius. Benfield's Land Rover example above is perfect. They want to force the rest of us to give up what makes the world and life as great as it is, while they themselves don't practice what they preach.

Its disgusting. Sorry for the rant. I agree, urban farming isn't gonna cut it either :-)
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Jams
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 1:22 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cub,
Are you Polpot's illegitimate son and planning to force millions into the fields to tend carrots where houses and apartments once stood?

Jeesh, amazing that some prefer weed filled lots instead of some dedicated people tilling some land and planting things that are of benefit.
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Sumas
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 3:28 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is the strangest thread I have ever seen.

Why would anyone talk evil about urban gardens?

I am with you Jams, plants, kind people and a good carbon imprint are always preferable to weed filled dumps.

It seems some people prefer to want to see decay and hopelessness in our city instead of community efforts that enrich ones soul and improve neighborhoods.
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Vas
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Post Number: 475
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 3:52 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

another instance of someone disparaging efforts of positivity (community gardens) because they are deemed 'too small.'

The more commone way this is done is by pointing to one counter productive measure by an individual or group and proclaiming that it overides all the good deeds produced in their normal actions. (the 'you're a hypocrite' charge)

Its disgusting the lengths that some people will go to for assurances of their own wisdom that if you can't fix all the world's problems in half an hour don't do anything at all.
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Luckycar
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 6:23 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jerome you've made my morning.These earth loving ,sustainable livestyle nuts are going to force this crap on our kids and wallets.You want a damm tomato,grow one.You want to offset you carbon guilt,pay someone with make belive credits.Can't sleep at night because there are no farms south of 8 mile,start one.Just leave the rest of our wallets alone.
I just thought of something.Leaking roof at Cobo,hot air and crap at the Clownsil.Sounds like a mushroom farm,just keep the lights dim...
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Gannon
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Post Number: 9101
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 6:53 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Why would anyone talk evil about urban gardens?




Because they don't get it and want people to starve when the economy finally totally fails?!

We have NEVER spoke of ONE large farm, EVER. NOBODY I ever met through any urban agriculture initiate has ever brought forth any idea beyond INDIVIDUALS planting, growing, and harvesting food for themselves first, then their neighbors, THEN for public sale in the markets newly made available for this purpose.



Poor folks who simply are STUCK in an industrial-age paradigm...Benfield is their misguided cheerleader! What an extremely POOR choice of thread titles, may all of our POSITIVE responses turn this around for the good that is supposed to come from this wonderful movement!


Cheers all, especially Benfield.
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Tkshreve
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Username: Tkshreve

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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 8:24 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

At one point man and nature will need to coexist, sustainably. Jerome and Luckycar would have us believe that society has already found that balance. I have a newsflash for you fellas:

It has not.

Perhaps urban gardening can be viewed as an early form of man adhereing to nature, as opposed to squandering and destroying it. It may have happened by accident, or because the people "in the hood" want and need to eat it. Whatever the case, nobody is waiting in line to develop these urban garden properties.




quote:

"Carbon is not a pollutant.

Problem solved."


C'mon..... really?
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6nois
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Username: 6nois

Post Number: 815
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 8:28 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I guess maybe we should work more like the USSR and pay total disregard to anything to do with the environment. That totally worked so well for the environment. I mean all this environmental talk is just evil socialist mumbo jumbo, and get this now they want people to help themselves. Provide healthy food for people in made up food deserts. Its all and evil plot!

Yeah? Right?
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Johnlodge
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 8:36 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How many empty lots in Detroit are being held back from being developed as "high density," as Benfield wishes, because there's currently a farm on them? Until that number is great than 0, this seems like a moot point.
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Luckycar
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:41 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Again I say,"grow your own."If you want a farm in Detroit,buy the lot,grow the crops,post the guard and harvest.Just don't involve Jerome or me.Don't waste any of my tax dollars,stimu-less,or Obama Bucks.
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Blueidone
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:44 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As one of the members of the Georgia Street Community Collective, which includes several urban gardens, I think that Benfield is totally missing the point of our organization.

Yes, we care about the environment, but improving it is not the goal of our organization. Here is our mission statement:

The mission of the Georgia Street Community Collective is to:

Provide the residents of our community with:

Health - by maintaining the Georgia Street Community Garden and Market

Education - by establishing and maintaining the
Georgia Street Community Center/Library

Leadership Skills - by providing positive role models

Protection - by having the Community Center/Library to give the youth a place to meet

and - Rebuild and Sustain Our Community;
One House,
One Block,
One Neighborhood
at a Time.

In a perfect world, Benfield, perhaps you are correct. However, I think we all know that this is not a perfect world and we must play the cards we are dealt.

There are lots full of garbage, there are hungry people, there are people who can't travel to a fruit market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. There are kids who need positive role models.

If, in the process of solving some of these problems, we are able to improve the environment on a very small scale then so much the better.
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Gannon
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 10:53 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks, Blue.


Beautiful.
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6nois
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 7:22 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Again I say,"grow your own."If you want a farm in Detroit,buy the lot,grow the crops,post the guard and harvest.Just don't involve Jerome or me.Don't waste any of my tax dollars,stimu-less,or Obama Bucks."

This makes no sense. None of these programs are funded directly by the government. They are as a result of residents, volunteers, and non profits such as soup kitchens. What does it matter to you if these people choose to get permission to use unused land. And the idea that they should have to pay taxes on it is crazy. You clearly don't have to look at empty overgrown lots, because what would you rather see that or a maintained garden that is worked on by young and old in the neighborhood. The gardens don't stop any development, help residents eat better, improve the quality of a neighborhood, and provide a use to empty land.
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Chitaku
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 7:45 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

if there's open land, and you have seeds...then grow em!
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Luckycar
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 7:55 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No public funding for farm plots.I just changed my tune.Maybe food could be grown on the vaccant lots in Detroit.A garden is a wonderful thing to put people to work and give them something to do with their hands and minds.Non-profits and volunteers are the way to go.I'm happy for all whoose involved.
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6nois
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Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 8:27 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Even if it was being public funded but worked by the community Lucky it could still "put people to work and give them something to do with their hands and minds". Not all government spending is bad. Because of how the free market works if we ever expect positive movement in the city we have to allow some government backing to support it. In all reality some good investments will get passed on by the free market, and that is why there should be a safety net. Detroit has a strong D-I-Y attitude as far as getting things done, many blocks and neighborhoods support themselves because the government isn't there. This is good but is also bad in a way because the deterioration of our city and its stagnation can be seen as a direct result of a government that does not respond to issues and problems. We need moderation nothing is black and white the world is all gray.
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Sumas
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Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 9:12 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Don't think gray, think green! Also working the soil is a cure-all for the blues.

With this wonderful weather we have had, I did my spring clean up in my personal yard which is 95% Perennial plants and flowering shrubs. I have about 3 more hours of work to do plus fresh mulching. In a month or so, I'll buy 15 flats of annuals. My work will be done and I'll enjoy a summer of pure beauty.

I also have a large garden I work at a friends house. This year I haven't made up my mind yet what crops to plant. I am leaning heavily towards a cash crop of Gladiolas.

I have a stall at a local weekend market where I sell herbs. This year, I am expanding what I sell and hope to contribute a decent chunk of change to Georgia Street Community Gardens.
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Psewick
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Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:43 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That's the problem with Detroit. There is no vacant land to build a house on with all of these farms crowding us out!
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Gistok
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Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 5:27 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Johnlodge... don't forget the Hudson's Girder Farm on lower Woodward...
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Old_guy
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Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 10:09 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree with Chitaku, "If there's open land, and you have seeds...then grow em!" Food's really neat stuff.
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Sumas
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Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 4:40 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the 1890's Hazen Pingree the Mayor of Detroit started what became called Pingree's potato patches. There was a recession then too. He sent a letter to all the local churches asking for seed money and got almost no response. He sold his horse to get our urban farms started. Some histories say it was a smashing success and others say it was just a PR blitz.

Regardless, the citizens loved him for this gesture.

This city has a fine history of community farming. Belle Isle (which by the way was expanded (land fill) and improved under Pingree to put people to work was originally Couchon D'Isle, in english, Pig Island was a community farm. The Cabbage Patch area of GPP was a community cabbage farm.

If we have empty lots fill them with plants. It is part of our heritage and makes good sense.

As a side note, I loved when Mayor Cockrel referred to Pingree in his State of the City Address. Pingree is a personal hero to me. He was a true champion of the citizens of Detroit on so many levels.

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