Michigan lawmakers tour urban gardens in Brightmoor
State Senators Virgil Smith and Joe Hune brought other state lawmakers and reporters to Brightmoor as part of a tour of Detroit’s urban gardening efforts. The lawmakers and reporters were impressed with what they saw.
The Detroit News featured our neighbor, Scott Ungar:
“There used to be a lot of trash and junk trees and high weeds, and dumps of old concrete and shingles” on many of the sites, said Scott Ungar, a Brightmoor resident who’s helping lead the urban-gardening push.
Ungar stood near one of 37 gardens in the area, where garlic and asparagus already are maturing and where a “catchment” system captures rainwater to feed the vegetables.
A philanthropy-funded children’s program this year will grow to about 45 participants for several months.
“And a lot of us want to make money,” Ungar said. “We’re market gardeners.”
In fact, Ungar said, some Brightmoor residents already garner income of $10,000 a year from their gardens. In a city where the mean household income is $34,000 a year, that’s significant, said Smith, who represents the State Fairgrounds area.
Smith’s vision is for a “reinvention of land in the city of Detroit.” He sees redevelopment of idle land into gardens as “the first positive impact because 15 years ago” the area of Brightmoor was “crack heaven.”
State Senator Joe Hune from Hamburg, Michigan, praised Brightmoor’s urban gardening success to the Livingstone Daily:
The Brightmoor gardens, in particular, are producing as much as thousands of pounds of produce and boast a small chicken farm and a garden tended by area children — all on vacant, city-owned properties, Hune said.
He said one grower was enthused just by the opportunity to discuss his work.
“He was so excited to show us what they’d been doing. It was exciting to see him in action, and his sense of pride showing their operation,” Hune recalled.
“It was eye-opening to see what is happening and the level (at which) it is happening and the level folks are involved,” he added.
The video below shows more of the tour, including the tour of D-Town farms, a commercial farming operation.