Can arugula save bankrupt Detroit?
One plan envisions turning blighted lots into urban farms and creating thousands of jobs and millions in business taxes.
Among Detroit's myriad woes are the roughly 150,000 vacant and abandoned lots scattered throughout the bankrupt city's 139 square miles.
But where some people see blight, others see opportunity, Bloomberg reports. Turning some of the vacant lots into urban farms could result in as many as 4,700 jobs and $20 million in business taxes, a 2009 study projected.
The idea is being buoyed by Detroit Future City, a planning project created in 2010 to help boost the downtrodden city's fortunes. One of its goals is to encourage new land uses, such as community gardens and urban farming.
"Urban farms like large greenhouses offer a local, year-round source of fresh food, which allows a system-wide shift to local food procurement in Detroit," according to a report from the group. Local universities and hospitals, it notes, don't buy local food, because of its current unavailability.
The question is whether harvests of arugula and heirloom tomatoes can save Detroit, which filed an $18 billion bankruptcy last month. It lost more than 435,000 jobs in the metropolitan area from 2000 to 2010, Bloomberg notes. As automakers cut jobs, the region has also been hit hard by store closures from the likes of Starbucks (SBUX) and Borders.
The realities of urban farming, however, may squash Detroit's dream of getting bailed out by locally grown kale. Farming in a northern climate often includes higher costs because greenhouses are needed in the shorter growing season, Bruce Bugbee, as professor in the plants, soils and climate department in Utah State University in Logan, told Bloomberg.
Still, some people in Detroit look at urban farming as a way to create self-sufficiency, given the lack of city services.
"For all intents and purposes, there is no government here," Greg Willerer, the owner of Brother Earth Farms, told Bloomberg. He grows greens in a spot across from an abandoned house. "If something were to happen, we have to handle that ourselves."
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Maybe they can raise some pigs too........ Then they can "show theirselves the bacon".
Quid Pro GROW...........
Nothing can save Detroit! I could see it coming in 1961 when I moved out.
I was born there and lived there 31 years,
Good Start but what we need is a 1000 years or so for the toxins to settle a few inches
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
- Aug gold fell for the first time in five sessions as the dollar index gained strength. The yellow metal popped to a session high of $1316.80 per ounce in early morning action but quickly slipped back into the red. It eventually settled with a 0.7% loss at $1306.10 per ounce.
- Sep silver oscillated between positive and negative territory today. It traded as high as $21.12 per ounce after coming off its session low of $20.78 per ounce and settled at $21.00 per ounce, ... More
More Market News
The category is seeing less enthusiasm from investors than any other.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'