Detroit's Urban Agriculture Ordinance

Detroit's Urban Agriculture Ordinance will be debated by the City Council's advisory City Planning Commission later this month.


(Hubbard Farms neighborhood's urban garden)

Written with the advice of nonprofit community gardeners and advocates of large-scale farming, the ordinance puts no size limits on urban farms, and it permits the sale of produce through many avenues, from farm stands on the property to farmers markets and directly to public or private entities, either retail or wholesale.

Proposed projects like Hantz Farms and RecoveryPark would still have to win approval from city planners, and may be required to conduct soil testing or other measures. But they would have the zoning ordinance on their side rather than against them.

"It's broad enough to allow our work to move forward along with all the existing gardens," Mike Score, president of Hantz Farms, said late last month. "My impression is that a very broad range of interests were responded to, so it's well-written."

"I think it's very comprehensive," said Gary Wozniak, president and CEO of the proposed RecoveryPark farming project. "I think it covers all the bases in terms of the different sizes and different types of communities these things can go into."

Detroit covers approximately 139 square miles; 40 square miles of the city are unoccupied and are falling into ruin.

Towers of glass and steel once dominated Detroit's skyline, just as they did on Trantor, the ruling center of the galaxy in Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation trilogy from the 1950's. But times change for Detroit just as they did for Trantor:

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.

Via Free Press.

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