Hoe-town: 10K-Acre Farm Eyed for Detroit

Michigan investors seek to turn deserted streets into cropland
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 7, 2009 5:40 AM CDT
An agribusiness future looms for Detroit if a group of Michigan investors go ahead with plans to develop 10,000 city acres for crops and gardens.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Motor City could turn into Maize City if a Michigan investment group has its way and turns 10,000 acres of largely deserted streets into farm plots, reports BusinessGreen. Hanz Group hopes eventually to acquire almost 10% of Detroit's 143 square miles for development into cropland, Christmas tree and lumber plots, gardens and riding trails.

Purchase is already underway for the first 70-acre "Phase I" farm on the city's lower east side. Hanz officials hope to purchase another 5000 acres in the next five years. Because operations will be located in neighborhoods, activists are already lobbying for safe organic farming. "The potential for water, air, and soil contamination from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is significant,and negative impacts on residents' health would follow," warned a spokeswoman.