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Urban Farming In Detroit Essay

3660 words - 15 pages

Urban farming in Detroit
Turning the Motor City into Farm City

Urban farming in Detroit Turning the Motor City into Farm City

Subject: Intercultural Communication Studies 2nd Term Date of release: 16.02.2011

Table of Contents

1 2 3

Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3 Characteristics ..................................................................................................................... 4 Urban farming in Detroit .................................................................................................... 5 3.1 3.2 SWOT analysis ...view middle of the document...


2 Characteristics
Van Veenhuizen defines urban agriculture as “[…] the growing of plants and the raising of animals for food and other uses within and around cities and towns, and related activities such as the production and delivery of inputs, and the processing and marketing of products” (Van Veenhuizen, 2006, p.2). Moreover, urban farming depicts an integral part of the cities’ economic, social and ecological system. This describes the sensible use of local resources like degraded land, workers, organic wastes and water. Furthermore, urban farming is operated by citizens producing for citizens. Even though most of the urban farms are non-profit organisations, they still guarantee food security and help to reduce poverty. Their work also has a great impact on people’s health by ensuring a better nutrition. Nevertheless, urban farming projects highly depend on the cities’ policy, especially concerning land distribution. Additionally, limited space, a low degree of farmer organisation, a rather specialized production of nutritious food and closeness to the local markets mark the phenomenon of urban farming. Its goal is the transformation of the cities’ physical and social environment in order to create a better future far away from poverty and hunger (cf. ibid., p.2). Three types of urban farming can be distinguished: subsistence urban farmers, family-type (semi-) commercial farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs (cf. ibid., p.3). Additionally, urban farming projects meet three policy dimensions: social, economic and ecological. Since this work does not have the extent to explain all of them, it shall be referred only to the social dimension, which concerns cities, including Detroit, with mainly food security issues and exclusion of certain parts of the population. Social urban farm projects produce mainly for their self-consumption. Because of the little direct viability, these people need extra income to cover all of their expenditures. Farming varieties within the social dimension are home gardening, community gardening and institutional gardens at schools or hospitals. Farms meeting the social policy dimension have a great impact on social inclusion, poverty alleviation and community development (cf. ibid. p.10ff). These functions shall be explained in detail introducing to the example of urban farming in the city of Detroit.


3 Urban farming in Detroit


SWOT analysis

In order to examine the potential for urban farming in the city of Detroit, I am going to present a SWOT analysis. The former Motor City has been facing economic decline since decades, but the collapse of the so called “Great three” General Motors, Chrysler and Ford let the city’s problems culminate nowadays. While the city of Detroit had an overall population of about 1.85 Million inhabitants in its peak time in the year 1950, today its population is shrunken by about desperate 50% (cf. Grünweg, 18.02.2010). Statistics about unemployment in the...

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