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Life In Detroit's 'Agrihood' - The First In The U.S.

Sure, you've heard about life in the 'hood - but have you heard about the 'agrihood'?


(Down in the agrihood)

A collection of companies are joining forces with The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative to create the country's first sustainable urban agrihood. The mixed-use urban development plans were announced at a Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 30 media event.

The urban farming group, founded by Tyson Gersh, recently planted a 200-tree urban orchard, has a two-acre urban garden, a sensory garden and provides fruits and vegetables, free of charge, to the North End neighborhood.

"People are probably wondering what the heck an agrihood is, for the record we didn't coin that term," Gersh said at the event, "it's actually an emerging strategy for development that's seen quite a bit of success across the country.

"The issue is that, one they're all in rural America or in suburbs, and two they're all outrageously unaffordable."

The founder has said the main goal of its urban garden, the self-proclaimed MUFI "centerpiece," is to teach best practices, start conversations on agriculture and farming, and to, of course, bring more fresh produce into the neighborhood...

"Over the last four years, we've grown from an urban garden that provides fresh produce for our residents to a diverse, agricultural campus that has sustained the neighborhood, attracted new residents and area investment," Gersh said. "We've seen an overwhelming demand from people who want to live in view of our farm.

"This is part of a larger trend occurring across the country in which people are redefining what life in the urban environment looks like. We provide a unique offering and attraction to people who want to live in interesting spaces with a mix of residential, commercial, transit, and agriculture."

Philip K. Dick foresaw the Detroit 'agrihood' in his 1954 short story The Turning Wheel:

Below his ship, the barren countryside spread out, ugly and bleak. Great red spots that hadn't yet been overgrown, and slag surfaces were still visible - but by this time most ruins were covered by soil and crabgrass. He could see men and robots farming; villages, countless tiny brown circles in the green fields; occasional ruins of ancient cities - gaping sores like blind mouths, eternally open to the sky. They would never close, not now.

Ahead was the Detroit area, named, so it ran, for some now-forgotten spiritual leader...

He dropped his ship down. An open field lay to his right; a robot farmer was plowing with a metal hook welded to its waist...

Yes, science fiction readers see it all, decades before it happens.

Update 03-Apr-2023: This image of the once-mighty Motor City reminds me very much of the fall of Trantor, the ruling center of the galaxy in Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation trilogy from the 1950's:


(Farming Trantor in 'Second Foundation' by Isaac Asimov)

Trantor was a world in dregs and rebirth. Set like a faded jewel... it alternately dreamed of past and future...

Until the decay of the Empire eventually reached it... its drooping powers had been bent back upon themselves and broken forever. In the blasting ruin of death, the metal shell... wrinkled and crumpled into an aching mock of its own grandeur.

The survivors tore up the metal plating and sold it... for seed and cattle. The soil was uncovered once more and the planet returned to its beginnings. In the spreading areas of primitive agriculture, it forgot its intricate and colossal past.

End update:

Via First sustainable urban 'agrihood' in U.S. to launch in Detroit.

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