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Originally published November 20 2010

Urban farms provide enough produce to sustain most of Detroit

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The characteristic blight of Detroit, Michigan, could soon be transformed into a patchwork of thriving urban farms and gardens. According to a new report out of Michigan State University (MSU), conservative estimates hypothesize that urban farms just in the city could provide enough local produce to feed most of Detroit's residents -- and provide a potential new source of income for its residents.

Earlier this year, NaturalNews covered a similar story about how investors have already started buying up land in Detroit and turning it into urban farms ( The soil underneath the city is some of the richest and most fertile in the nation, so it is perfect for growing crops. And because much of the city lies in ruin and decay, with at least 44,000 property parcels completely vacant, the city just might be the next gold mine for agriculture.

Published in The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, the new study says that a combination of farms, gardens, greenhouses, and food storage facilities, would work perfectly scattered among Detroit's many vacant parcels. Not only would growing food in these areas provide sustenance for local residents, but it could burgeon into a thriving new industry -- and one that, ironically, represents the original industry upon which the city was first built.

"What's clear from our production analysis is that even with a limited growing season, significant quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables eaten by Detroiters could be grown locally," explained Kathryn Colasanti, a graduate student from the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU, and author of the study. "And investments in produce storage facilities and hoop houses (greenhouses that extend the growing season) would increase this capacity substantially."

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