Two of my favourite subjects… in one place! Last week we went to Detroit to discover something of the urban regeneration process underway there during Detroit Design Festival (celebrating the recent designation of Detroit as a UNESCO City of Design, first in the USA). In a very short visit we managed to see some urban farming in Corktown, the Heidelberg project, downtown Detroit, MOCAD and the Murals in the Market After Dark with the advice and company of Emily Jane Boeuf of USArt boutique.
First we stopped off at Pine St urban farm in Corktown, near the old railway station (which is having its windows replaced to conserve this impressive building)
It is a strange landscape, with some incredible arquitecture that makes you want to drop everything and immerse yourself in restoration projects, but scattered throughout an almost bucolic urban landscape which was looking very lush and verdant with the late rains in August.
The farm itself is an open lot on Pine St, we almost thought the GPS was a bit lost, but we were in the right place after all. Ryan and Hannah soon came to collect the days produce for the farmers market and clients that they deliver to, so we helped pick some tomatoes while picking their brains on the experience of a few years of urban farming.
I was very curious about the benefits of not weeding the plots, there is so much I don’t know about gardening in a temperate climate after years in the tropics, but apparently the stress can bring out the flavours! When I thought the diligent weeding is basic to reserving all the nutrients for your protected plantlings . It never ceases to amaze me how much can be hidden in the tangle of green…
Nearby is also the Corktown hostal and some community gardens which we did see and other urban farms we did not but that are already on the list for next time. I have read about several different approaches in urban farming from church run for their soup kitchen, to rehabilitation programmes as well as community groups so there is a LOT more to visit….