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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Nina Ignaczak

Two Recent College Grads Launch Michigan Urban Farming Initiative to Educate and Build Community

August 15, 2013 |
Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that implements urban agriculture as a tool for addressing structural food inequality through education and community building. Photo Credit: MIUFI

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that implements urban agriculture as a tool for addressing structural food inequality through education and community building. Photo Credit: MUFI

In 2011, then-21 year old Tyson Gersh met Darin Mcleskey at the University of Michigan. According to Gersh, who grew up in nearby college-town Ann Arbor, McLeskey was the first person who ever used the words “Detroit” and “cool” in the same sentence.

People had always told him that Detroit was a scary place.

”Ann Arbor is a bubble,” says Gersh. “I legitimately thought Detroit was the airport.”

After Mcleskey talked Gersh into taking a first road trip 50 miles down I-94, past the airport, Gersh was amazed to see skyscrapers. Read More

Michigan Food Hub Network Meeting Focuses on Partnerships and Connecting Markets

July 22, 2013 |
Photo Credit: Nina Ignaczak

Photo Credit: Nina Ignaczak

Detroit’s Eastern Market, the only remaining of three markets which once served the City of Detroit, was the site of the Michigan Food Hub Network’s statewide meeting on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. The meeting took place in the historic Detroit Eastern Market’s Shed 3, where over 200 people from all areas of the food world came to connect with and learn about funding resources, technical assistance programs, and to make connections. In attendance were farmers, institutional food service professionals, food processors and distributors, academics, and small independent grocers. Read More

Portland, OR-based Urban Farm Seeks to Spread Sustainable Ag through Education and Healthy Food

July 3, 2013 |
Members of Zenger Farm Shares Community Supported Agriculture program pick up their produce at the farm, courtesy Zenger Farm.

Members of Zenger Farm Shares Community Supported Agriculture program pick up their produce at the farm, courtesy Zenger Farm.

Portland, Oregon’s Zenger Farm is striving to be a national model for urban, sustainable agriculture education while meeting the needs of people in its backyard: the low-income neighborhoods of Lents and Powelhurst-Gilbert.

The urban farm works to provide sustainable food and agriculture education, food access, and support for emerging food businesses in the area.

Though the farm is not currently certified, plans are underway to pursue organic certification within the next year, according to Sara Cogan, Farm Manager for Zenger Farms. Sustainable agriculture methods used on the farm includes drip irrigation, strict avoidance of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and creation of habitat to support diverse populations of beneficial insects. Read More

Detroit Urban Farming Enterprise, RecoveryPark, Poised to Revitalize East Side and Create 18,000

May 9, 2013 |

recoveryparklogoThe east side of Detroit, like much of the rest of the city, is in dire need of recovery.

The land is dotted with vacant and abandoned homes. The economy is in tatters. Unemployment, infant mortality, poverty, crime, and drug abuse are major challenges facing the dwindling population.

This is the land capitalism left behind.

A new enterprise combining urban farming, substance abuse rehabilitation, and an alternative economic model is attempting to provide that recovery on the many fronts in which it is needed. Read More

Urban Ag Organization Hopes to Get All Residents on Board to Keep Growing Detroit

May 8, 2013 |
Photo Credit: Keep Growing Detroit

Photo Credit: Keep Growing Detroit

Keep Growing Detroit, a nonprofit community gardening and urban agriculture support organization, has a mission to achieve nothing short of sovereignty for Detroiters.

Food sovereignty, that is.

The organization’s vision is one of a Detroit where Detroiters grow the majority of fruits and vegetables they consume. The group also serves Hamtramck and Highland Parks, autonomous cities surrounded on all sides by the City of Detroit. Read More