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From Pavement to Plowed Earth: Urban Farms in Detroit

BY: Kevin Moore | Jul 10, 2015
From Pavement to Plowed Earth: Urban Farms in Detroit

Detroit’s urban-farming organizations believe in treating the city as an ecosystem, nurturing the bond between community gardens, downtown Detroit restaurants, and residents. By supporting the development of agriculture in blighted areas, these groups hope to create jobs and deepen individuals’ connections to the foods they eat.

Here’s a look at five urban-farming organizations and some of the restaurants that support their causes.


In a nutshell: The farm harvests more than 30 kinds of fruits and vegetables, specializing in growing rare heirloom varieties such as the cosmic purple carrot and the moon and stars watermelon.

Restaurant partner: Astro Coffee uses some of ACRE’s organic produce to make its baked goods and sandwiches whenever possible.

D-Town Farm

In a nutshell: This 2-acre organic farm in Rouge Park was founded by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and grows crops including kale and tomatoes.

Restaurant partner: In addition to buying D-Town Farm’s produce, Colors–Detroit supports the farm’s mission of empowerment by hiring unemployed community residents, providing valuable restaurant job training and work experience.

Food Field

In a nutshell: Situated on the site of the abandoned Peck Elementary School, the 4-acre Food Field features rows of sprouting vegetables, a fruit orchard, more than 50 egg-laying hens, honeybees, and a pond stocked with catfish and bluegill.

Restaurant partner: Brooklyn Street Local supports its community while creating the smallest possible environmental footprint. To accomplish both goals, chefs use ingredients from urban farms, including Food Field, when preparing poutine, vegan breakfast scrambles, and other healthy comfort foods.

Green Toe Gardens

In a nutshell: Green Toe Gardens has created 100 beehives in urban farms, community gardens, and yards across the city and the inner-ring suburbs. Neighbors learn to harvest pure, raw honey and beeswax.

Restaurant partner: The unpretentious diner-style menu at Rose’s Fine Food distinguishes itself by spotlighting ingredients from local producers and urban farms such as Green Toe Gardens.

RecoveryPark Farms

In a nutshell: RecoveryPark Farms transforms blighted areas into urban farmland. The ultimate goal is to create permanent jobs while supplying local restaurants with farm-fresh produce and helping residents become even more invested in their neighborhoods.

Restaurant partner: Local flavors matter at Selden Standard. Just like at many of the best restaurants in Detroit, menus change regularly as chefs discover new and exciting ingredients from nearby farmers, ranchers, and artisans.

Photo: IMG_1311.JPG by mercedesfromtheeighties under CC BY-SA 2.0.