Grassroots Innovation | Urban Farming in Detroit, Michigan

How cities are reinventing themselves in the realm of the newly popular green (read: eco-conscious) movement is an innovation that many cities around the world are now pursuing. Especially cities that have lost their former economic roles due to a changing technology, global trends, or have fallen victim to globalization itself. One such place is America’s Motor City, Detroit, in Michigan.

Lots O' Greens neighborhood garden in Detroit, leading successful urban revitalization with a very green agenda. Photo: Carlos Osorio/AP

Large pockets of its inner city have abandoned, inviting all sorts of crime and unpleasant realities. All due a changing automobile market, and the shifting of production to other areas across the US and overseas. Jobs and hopes have left with them.

Now there is a new move to revitalize the urban blight, through a novel idea of Urban Farming. Converting abandoned and unused areas into farming areas (make that gardens!). There were over 60 gardens in 2008 alone. A grassroots movement initiated by a few local community leaders, and now gaining momentum. Here’s a look at a documentary on this new urban phenomena.

Detroit has been so successful with this program that it is today considered as a leading authority on Urban Farming.

Proof that returning back to our agrarian roots has its rewards, where urban revitalization and sustainability make a perfect pair!

Mark McInnis, director of Urban Roots documentary on Detroit's Urban Farming

Tree Media is producing Urban Roots, an insightful documentary on the urban farming phenomenon in Detroit. The film is directed by Mark McInnis, a Detroit native. Urban Roots is timely given the collapse of the US auto industry and the need to move toward a sustainable future. Urban Roots just wrapped up shooting in Detroit and is in post production. We launched the Urban Roots Action Website that will network the urban farming movement.

Inspiration: 11th Hour Action


About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
This entry was posted in Grassroots-Level Innovation, Sustainable Solutions, Urban Rejuvenation, Urban Revitalization, USA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Grassroots Innovation | Urban Farming in Detroit, Michigan

  1. While urban agriculture as a subset of “greening” is not new, what is new is the potential for urban agriculture to be an economic engine. What makes this possible are markets willing to support locally grown food and appropriately scaled commercial farming systems like SPIN-Farming. SPIN stands for S-mall P-lot IN-tensive, and it makes it possible to earn significant income from land bases under an acre in size by growing common vegetables. SPIN provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business concept, marketing advice, financial benchmarks and a detailed day-to-day workflow. In standardizing the system and creating a reproducible process it really isn’t any different from McDonalds. By offering a non-technical, easy-to-understand and inexpensive-to-implement farming system, it allows many more people to farm commercially, wherever they live, as long as there are nearby markets to support them. A free calculator that shows how much farm income can be made from backyards and neighborhood lots is available at the SPIN website –

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