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Detroit’s urban farms embraces green infrastructure for sustainable water us

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 5:58
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Earthworks Urban Farm. Photo by Nick Hagen.

Much ado is often made of the vast amounts of open space potentially available for farming in a city like Detroit. Yet, this land is often lacking in water infrastructure.

By Brian Allnutt
Model D
Nov 17, 2016


The Earthworks system consists of three tanks—two below ground and one elevated above—that receive rainwater from the gutters on the side of the hoop-house. The lower tanks take the water directly and a solar-powered pump slowly moves it into the elevated tank to give it the necessary pressure to force it through the drip lines running back into the hoop-house.

Crouch estimates that the system cost about $14,000. A meter on the line shows the system has collected about 36,000 gallons of water in the last year. That might not offset the expense of installation immediately, but the cost of putting in a new line and meter at the site was estimated to be around $8,000. The combination of savings on buying water, not installing the meter and line and taking advantage of credits on city stormwater drainage fees shortly could easily put this project in the black in a couple of years.

The project was made possible with a grant from the Erb Family Foundation, who sponsored the system at Earthworks. The support allows Crouch to so things that others may not be able to organize or afford. By analyzing different methods and troubleshooting on the front end, they can pass on information to other growers that could save them time and money.

Read the complete article here.


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