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25084Decaying area of Detroit being transformed into the 'world's largest urban farm'. 150 acres. Opposition

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  • David Hoffman
    Nov 25, 2013
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      Decaying area of Detroit being transformed into the 'world's largest urban
      farm'
      150 acres of land is being transformed as part of a bid to stabilize the
      bankrupt city's downward spiral
      The land, in the centre of the city, once had over 1,000 houses and is now
      abandoned
      They hope the new farm will help surrounding homes keep their property
      values level
      Plans are to start by planting trees, then raise crops and even livestock
      in the future

      By Daily Mail Reporter

      PUBLISHED: 15:52 EST, 24 November 2013 | UPDATED: 19:52 EST, 24 November 2013

      The city of Detroit is planning to transform 150 acres of what once was a
      gritty neighbourhood to the world's largest urban farm.

      The plan, spearheaded by private company Hantz Woodlands, is part of a move
      by the bankrupt city to stabilize the area’s downward spiral and help
      surrounding homes and businesses keep their property values from falling
      further.

      Woodlands plans to start by planting trees, but hopes to raise crops and
      even livestock in the future, right in the midst of the once-proud city.

      Transformation: Detroit is planning to transform 150 acres of what once was
      a gritty neighborhood to the world's largest urban farm

      Decay: Many of the parcels held dilapidated and abandoned homes and
      buildings and were condemned by the city, while others were rubble-strewn
      or weed-choked lots. Soon it will be green farmland

      ‘We are interested with moving into different types of agriculture,’ Mike
      Score, president of Hantz, told FoxNews.com.

      Hantz needed approval from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to buy up the
      1,500 parcels for approximately $450,000 in total, or $300 per parcel.

      Many of the parcels held dilapidated and abandoned homes and buildings and
      were condemned by the city, while others were rubble-strewn or weed-choked
      lots.

      The company intends to spend $3 million to clean out the areas.

      Score says that once the sale is complete, his company will spend the
      winter clearing 15 acres to plant 15,000 trees during the first phase. They
      also intend to add orchards further down the line.

      Big plans: The private company, Hantz Woodlands, snapped up the abandoned
      lot in the Motor City's East End and plans to turn it into the largest
      urban farmland in the world

      Dreams of a better future: They hope the move will help the area stabilize
      its economy

      Not everyone is a fan of turning such a huge swath of Detroit into a farm.

      The proposal, which barely got by the City Council by a razor-thin margin
      of 5-4, was met with criticism from local residents and even agricultural
      groups in the area.

      ‘I think there’s concern in this transaction,’ said Nevin Cohen, a
      professor of Environmental Studies at New York's New School, who has been
      monitoring the plan.

      ‘Replicating a community farm is not as important as addressing issues of
      race and class concerns - which underlie Detroit’s problems,’ he said.

      Community reactions: Some of the community do not agree with the move,
      saying it takes the focus away from racial and class issues

      Against the farm: The Detroit Black Community Food Service, which runs
      large community food-garden D-Town Farm, near Rouge Park, opposes the Hantz
      proposal

      The Detroit Black Community Food Service, which runs large community
      food-garden D-Town Farm, near Rouge Park, also opposes the Hantz proposal.

      Community gardens like theirs have sprung up around the city, with backers
      saying it gives local residents a stake in their own neighborhoods – as
      opposed to a giant farm run by outsiders.

      The founder of the company, John Hantz, originally had a vision to
      transform the even more rundown areas of the city into a fully functional,
      large-scale farm, but civic law forced his company to scale back their
      ambitions.

      Tight victory: The proposal barely got by the City Council by a razor-thin
      margin of 5-4, but it will go ahead

      ‘[John Hantz] has been exploring urban farming opportunities for years,’
      Robin Boyle, an urban planning professor from local Wayne State University,
      told FoxNews.com.

      Despite political red tape preventing larger-scale farming in city limits,
      the DIY garden farms spread throughout the area have helped the city begin
      to fight back against urban decay.

      ‘They are growing food, but they are also working on combating structural
      depression,’ Cohen said.

      Comments (40)
      ...
      bert, Park Hills KY, 1 hour ago
      Detroit trying to reinvent itself. Sounds like a great model- reverse
      urbanization. I have seen areas in Detroit that need a lot of help and this
      idea I hope is one of many to try to bring back the city.
      ...
      Maggie, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 6 hours ago
      From major industry to urban jungle to an empty field. That's
      progressive... - Hashut, sadlyChicago, United States, 11/24/13, 10:05 PM
      Actually, from farm land to major industry to urban jungle back to farm
      land. Everything comes full circle.
      ...
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