“It could never happen in another city. I mean, this is ridiculous to think about this much land. There are very few houses that have another house next to them. So everybody can have at least an extra yard, you know. That’s really the gift of Detroit.”
~Farnsworth neighborhood resident Andrew Kemp
A couple of weeks ago NPR Weekend Edition had an interesting feature on urban farming in Detroit:
Detroit is a surprisingly green landscape during the spring and summer months. The site of many houses that are crumbling, boarded up or missing altogether is tempered by community gardens and even some urban farms.
There are some serious urban gardeners in this country, but few can match the agricultural output of Paul Weertz.
“I farm about 10 acres in the city, and alfalfa’s my thing. I bale about a thousand bales a year,” he says.
…Weertz has been buying abandoned homes and vacant parcels in his neighborhood, where lots go for as little as $300. He’s been encouraging young people who want to farm to move into the neighborhood. Weertz’s neighbor, Carolyn Leadley, runs Rising Pheasant Farms when she’s not caring for her 10-month-old son.
“We’re definitely micro-farming, but we’re making a living off a sixth of an acre,” Leadley says. “I’ve been very pleased — pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve been able to pay myself per hour. We took on an employee. I’m like, ‘OK, We’re a real business now. We have to pay taxes and do things right.’ “
Click through to listen to the feature and see some photos, and speaking of photos, the MML has several more photos from the Brother Nature Farm in Detroit which is mentioned story. Speaking of Brother Nature, check out this awesome video about Brother Nature Farm!