Detroit Urban Farming Plan Nearing Completion

A plan to build a large-scale urban timber farm in the middle of Detroit is nearing completion, supporters say, with the Mayor planning to present the farm plan to the Detroit City Council sometime this summer.

Urban farming is one of the fastest growing agricultural fads sweeping the country. By transforming unused, abandoned, and dilapidated urban buildings and properties, the urban farming movement seeks to rejuvenate economically depressed urban centers, create jobs and boost city revenue, and expand access to nutritious food to lower-income residents.

This particular farm, however, would not grow produce, but would concentrate on raising trees for timber. The Hantz Farm urban agriculture project has been in discussion for the past several years, with a breakthrough in negotiations with the city occurring last fall.

The farm would consist of about 175 acres, spread out across several vacant, city owned parcels of land. The farm would clean up the property and be allowed to plant economically viable hardwood trees. The final price for the vacant land, while not yet settled, would likely be more than $500,000.

While the Mayor and the City Council support the plan, it has run into opposition from a coalition of local activists, many of whom worry about potential threats to local community gardens. In addition, some groups resent the sale of valuable publically owned land to a wealthy businessman.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer