Urban farming is more than a trend; it’s a way to grow and produce locally while benefiting communities and their residents. On Saturday, Dec. 10, FYI premiered the documentary Farming Detroit, which follows the rise of urban agriculture and its impact on the city.
There are 30,000 acres of distressed land that residents are reclaiming in Detroit for gardening purposes, with an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 gardens in the city, according to the documentary.
The documentary follows the stories of six pioneers who are utilizing these spaces to fuel the urban farming revolution.
One of these pioneers is the Central Detroit Christian (CDC) is a non-profit, faith-based organization that manages the first licensed aquaponics farm and fishery in Detroit. The CDC Farm and Fishery, located in former liquor store, specializes in breeding tilapia and selling it to local businesses.
“This is a new product, a new line, basically where you can actually reform a space, rehab a method, simulate a natural process, and bring something for it,” Anthony Hatinger, the production coordinator at CDC, said in the documentary.
Another star of the documentary is Brother Nature Produce. Run by former teacher Greg Willerer and his wife, Olivia Hubert, Brother Nature Produce grows and sells salad greens, herbs, and more to restaurants in the community. Similar to other urban farming organizations in Detroit, Willerer and Hubert have built rapport among businesses and residents.
“I always say to people that the new currency of the world is not going to be going back to the gold standard,” Hubert said. “It’s trust. It’s worth more than money.”
In addition to providing a space for the community to work in and grow fresh produce, urban gardens teach residents about incorporating more healthy foods in their diets.
“The garden is a great education tool,” said Dr. Babar Qadir of the Health Unit on Davidson Avenue free community health clinic. “Not only here are we teaching them how to eat healthy and live healthy, but now we can physically show them.”