Motown Crops Spring From Decay

Charity makes dent with farms in desolate Detroit neighborhoods
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2008 2:00 PM CDT
Holly White gardens on her 10 by 37 foot third floor patio of her condominium building in Detroit Friday, May 2, 2008.    (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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(Newser) – An ambitious charity thinks it can turn Detroit’s most desolate neighborhoods into bustling farming utopias. The group, dubbed Urban Farming, grows vegetables on vacant land throughout the city, then gives them out for free to local residents, the BBC reports. Parts of Motor City have been transformed by its efforts, and now it’s branching out across the US.

Local law-enforcement officials say crime has dropped wherever Urban Farming has planted seeds. “We used to do this in our backyards. This used to be a culture, a way of life, so we're restoring that through urban farming,” one said. One ex-con and volunteer agreed, saying, “It's good for me to know that I'm helping somebody, instead of hurting somebody."