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Detroit

Investors are buying up Detroit and turning it into farmland

Saturday, March 27, 2010 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: detroit, farmland, health news

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(NewsTarget) A once-bustling mecca of American industry, Detroit, Michigan today lies mostly in blight and ruin. An empty shell of what it once was, "Motor City" has become largely abandoned with the crumbling of the American automobile industry and other once-domestic manufacturing industries that have otherwise outsourced to China. However a handful of investors hope to bring recovery to Detroit by bringing back the industry which began the city in the first place: farming.

Michael Score, president of Hantz Farms, has begun purchasing abandoned properties around the city in order to turn them into commercial farming operations. His company plans to obtain as much as 5,000 acres within the city limits to use for growing organic vegetables for food and trees and shrubs for biofuels. His company has other agricultural projects that it wishes to pursue as well.

With his initial investment of $30 million just two years ago, Hantz hopes to take full advantage of the fertile land within the city. Next spring, his company plans to begin growing crops on 30 acres of land and has plans in the works for other nearby parcels.

Because many of the parcels are too small for what usually suits a farm, Score and his team will convert many of the plots into smaller "pods" that grow specialized crops. Depending upon the condition of the land, what structures are present, and what chemicals had been used there, Hantz Farms plans to tailor the spaces for suitable purposes.

Old houses, factories, and warehouses that would otherwise be torn down are being converted into greenhouses and hydroponic growing fields. Land previously contaminated with chemicals and other waste byproducts is being used to grow trees for biofuels. Empty lots with fertile soil are being converted into vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens.

With an unemployment rate that has topped 20 percent or more depending on how it is calculated, Mayor Dave Bing has said the figures are even more grim with more than half of the city's able workers either unemployed or underemployed, making Detroit the perfect place for modern farming startups to flourish.

More than 125,000 property parcels in Detroit are either vacant or abandoned. Most of the city's remaining residents shop at gas stations and convenient stores because the city proper is devoid of any major grocery store chains. All these factors and more render Detroit prime real estate for the farming boon that is quickly gaining ground there.

Sources:

Investors see farms as way to grow Detroit - Los Angeles Times

Can farming save Detroit? - Fortune

City Farmer News

About the author

Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.


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