The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative received funding from Mercedes Benz Financial Services, which volunteer Mary Hughes is from, to help plant 200 fruit— apple, pear, plum and cherry — trees on vacant land.
(Photo: Jose Juarez / Special to The Detroit News)
“It’s not something we want to deal with in the neighborhood,” he said. “We’re looking for activity in this community that can maybe employ some people. An apple orchard really does not employ anyone.”
By Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News
Oct 14, 2016
Michigan Urban Farming Initiative got its start under an adopt-a-lot program five years ago. Since then, it’s transformed a tiny community garden to an operation that’s supplied more than 50,000 pounds of food to more than 2,000 households within two square miles, said co-founder and president Tyson Gersh.
The group has about a dozen projects going on a 1.5-acre site off Brush between Horton and Custer in Detroit’s District 5, one of the city’s seven district locations. Earlier this month, Mercedes Benz Financial Services funded the planting of 200 cherry, plum, pear and apple trees on a previously vacant parcel of its agricultural campus.
The farming initiative works on about 20 parcels and has acquired some from private owners and county foreclosure auction. But Gersh said the group was unable to obtain the deed for one of its properties or buy several others from the Detroit Land Bank Authority.
“We know that the work we are doing is good,” he said. “There is no way to justify the strategy that the city has been employing onto its residents. We’re not going anywhere.”