DETROIT (WXYZ) - It looks like a farm somewhere in the Midwest; row after row of tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and corn. Butterflies flit among the flowers. Somewhere a cricket chirps. But this isn’t Kansas; it’s the heart of Detroit.
An urban farm is carved into a row of empty lots at Linwood and Gladstone . It’s an island of green, red and orange in a sea of abandoned and burned out buildings.
“They got all kinds of vegetables, lettuce and tomatoes.” Andre McCullough tells us, “I mean what more could you ask for? We have fresh vegetables right at your hands.”
Andre grew up in the neighborhood and wants to see it return to the glory of his youth in the ‘60’s. He’s started a group called “ Quality Solutions Community Development Organization ” aimed at building a huge recreation and training center in the neighborhood. Part of that plan includes a massive community garden.
“If we can maintain our own source of food, at least 25 percent of which is most likely vegetables, that’s a significant savings over a period of a years’ time. Plus it’s healthier food. You’re saving money and time.”
Loretta Stieger picks through whatever is left on the vines and plants over at the Linwood farm. It’s late in the growing season and neighbors have already harvested the biggest produce.
“My husband died and he was the gardener,” she tells us, “I just couldn’t do it this year.”
So Loretta’s come to the farm to look for green tomatoes to fry. “Ever tried fried green tomatoes?” she asks, “Those things are so good.”
This farm was developed by a group called “Urban Farms”, which opened shop in Detroit 5 years ago. Their website describes their mission:
The Urban Farming vision is global and our mission is to end hunger in our generation by planting food on unused land and space for people in need and empowering suffering communities.
Loretta understands that need. She can find fresh produce in suburban grocery stores. But in the city of Detroit grocery stores a few and far between and the produce is often much more expensive than in the suburbs. Unfortunately she may have waited a few days too late to harvest what she needs. But still, she leaves with a small bag of vegetables, and a lot of hope for next season.
This story was brought to our attention by viewer Amy McGraw, who sent us her own version of the story via Twitter. For a look at Amy's version and information on how you can sumbit stories for Stephen Clark to cover on WXYZ TV and wxyz.com, go to Stephen's blog site here .
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