Returning to the Roots: Urban Farming and Environmentalism in Detroit
Dr. William Pannapacker, Hope College
During the World War II era, Detroit was referred to as “the great arsenal of democracy.” Now, however, the city is currently experiencing rapid decline with uncertain outcomes. With a current population of under a million people down from over two million, little access to fresh food stores, extensive plots of vacant, tillable land, at least 60,000 unoccupied buildings, and a failing economy, there has been a recent desire to explore urban farming. The modern urban farming is a foundation for a new way of envisioning the city by using new sustainable practices to promote positive development. Drawing upon the disciplines of American studies, economics, environmental studies, history, and urban studies, I demonstrate the importance of this movement for the future of sustainable practices in the urban context, in contrast to some political and business analysts who argue against its ability to make a significant impact on the city’s future.
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