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Report finds Detroit could feed many citizens if public lands are converted to farms and gardens

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A study conducted by Michigan State University found that unused public plots of land in Detroit could be used to provide fruits and vegetables for the city's residents.
A study conducted by Michigan State University found that unused public plots of land in Detroit could be used to provide fruits and vegetables for the city's residents.

The city of Detroit, Michigan has suffered as the population has halved since the 1950's and joblessness has surged. The exodus of people leaves vast stretches of land vacant. Some people are calling for that land to be used to grow food.

Building an agricultural oasis in a city built on an automobile industry that relies so heavily on cement and steel is actually not that far from the realm of possibility, according to experts. In a study conducted by Michigan State University, researchers found that turning the vacant, publicly owned plots of land into farms and gardens could provide a sizable portion of the city's fruit and vegetable needs.

The study analyzed roughly 44,000 parcels of land occupying nearly 5,000 acres. The report asserts that if farm life were brought to Detroit, the land could provide more than 75 percent of Detroit's residents' fresh vegetables and 40 percent of their fresh fruits. Mike Hamm, a professor at MSU and a chief architect of the report, told the New York Times that the land "totals are conservative," but they might be "closer to representing the quantity of land more readily available for urban farms and gardens" because the plots of land are already publicly owned.

The city of Detroit has been slow to approve any such projects, but some residents are hopeful that they can soon enjoy farm life in the comfort of a sprawling metropolis.
 

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