Tag Archives: New jobs

Urban Farming In Cleveland

Everything that initially looks bad … ain’t always bad. Sometimes it turns into a blessing. Take Cleveland for instance …  read how yet another city is coming up with creative ways to solve their problems of declining quality of life  (orignal story here).

3266798573_af1985460c_o

Cleveland Council approves urban farming, teardown of foreclosed homes

Posted by Henry J. Gomez/Plain Dealer Reporter February 02, 2009 22:05 PM Real Time News CLEVELAND –

The City Council on Monday approved two measures aimed at reshaping the city’s urban landscape.

In short, the Cleveland City government has realized it’s time to demolish abandoned homes and buildings and allow residents to grow their own food on the unused land.

Decades of population drain, industrial death and, most recently, the foreclosure crisis have left about 3,300 vacant acres in the city, and at least 15,000 vacant buildings.

The other ordinance sets guidelines for how Mayor Frank Jackson will spend $25.5 million in federal neighborhood improvements funds. The bulk of the money will be used to tear down abandoned homes left behind by the foreclosure epidemic.

One ordinance will allow residents to raise and keep farm animals and bees. It’s a step, proponents believe, toward finding innovative uses for vacant land. “We want people to be able to grow their own food,” Cimperman said.

The ordinance allows residents to keep chickens, ducks, rabbits and beehives but not roosters, geese or turkeys. A typical residential lot could have no more than six small animals and two hives

Urban farmers face opportunities and obstacles

“You don’t need a ton of infrastructure to produce food,” she said. “You need access to land, water, sun and know-how. That’s not a lot of barriers to entry compared to other start-ups,” said ordinance sponsor, Councilman Joe Cimperman.

Customers at the ever-expanding number of local farmers markets are snapping up so much of what grows in the city that the gourmet chefs who also demand local produce can scarcely get enough.

Advertisements

Detroit: Model For Urban Farming

Food Among the Ruins

by Mark Dowie

Reprinted from Guernica: http://www.guernicamag.com/spotlight/1182/food_among_the_ruins/
detroit500
“Detroit, the country’s most depressed metropolis, has zero produce-carrying grocery chains. It also has open land, fertile soil, ample water, and the ingredients to reinvent itself from Motor City to urban farm. Mark Dowie’s immodest proposal…

‘Were I an aspiring farmer in search of fertile land to buy and plow, I would seriously consider moving to Detroit. There is open land, fertile soil, ample water, willing labor, and a desperate demand for decent food. And there is plenty of community will behind the idea of turning the capital of American industry into an agrarian paradise. In fact, of all the cities in the world, Detroit may be best positioned to become the world’s first one hundred percent food self-sufficient city.’

Right now, Detroit is as close as any city in America to becoming a food desert, not just another metropolis like Chicago, Philadelphia, or Cleveland with a bunch of small- and medium-sized food deserts scattered about, but nearly a full-scale, citywide food desert. (A food desert is defined by those who study them as a locality from which healthy food is more than twice as far away as unhealthy food, or where the distance to a bag of potato chips is half the distance to a head of lettuce.) About 80 percent of the residents of Detroit buy their food at the one thousand convenience stores, party stores, liquor stores, and gas stations in the city. There is such a dire shortage of protein in the city that Glemie Dean Beasley, a seventy-year-old retired truck driver, is able to augment his Social Security by selling raccoon carcasses (twelve dollars a piece, serves a family of four) from animals he has treed and shot at undisclosed hunting grounds around the city. Pelts are ten dollars each. Pheasants are also abundant in the city and are occasionally harvested for dinner. (Click here to read more about Glemie Beasley)

Detroiters who live close enough to suburban borders to find nearby groceries carrying fresh fruit, meat, and vegetables are a small minority of the population. The health consequences of food deserts are obvious and dire. Diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, and obesity are chronic in Detroit, and life expectancy is measurably lower than in any American city.
Not so long ago, there were five produce-carrying grocery chains—Kroger, A&P, Farmer Jack, Wrigley, and Meijer—competing vigorously for the Detroit food market. Today there are none. Nor is there a single WalMart or Costco in the city…..” (Click here to read entire story)