John Hantz wants to farm Detroit.
"A large-scale, for-profit agricultural enterprise, wholly contained within the city limits of Detroit. Hantz thinks farming could do his city a lot of good: restore big chunks of tax-delinquent, resource-draining urban blight to pastoral productivity; provide decent jobs with benefits; supply local markets and restaurants with fresh produce; attract tourists from all over the world; and -- most important of all -- stimulate development around the edges as the local land market tilts from stultifying abundance to something more like scarcity and investors move in. Hantz is willing to commit $30 million to the project. He'll start with a pilot program this spring involving up to 50 acres on Detroit's east side. 'Out of the gates,' he says, 'it'll be the largest urban farm in the world.'"
It appears thaty lines are already being drawn between this big approach to farming Detroit, and the smaller farming and gardening groups.
"Some of Hantz's biggest skeptics, ironically, are the same people who've been working to transform Detroit into a laboratory for urban farming for years, albeit on a much smaller scale. The nonprofit Detroit Agriculture Network counts nearly 900 urban gardens within the city limits. That's a twofold increase in two years, and it places Detroit at the forefront of a vibrant national movement to grow more food locally and lessen the nation's dependence on Big Ag."
I'm afraid I have to roll my eyes at the little guys in this case. Existing urban farms are absolutely doing a good thing for the city, but there is far more empty land than they are currently using.