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New Detroit Farm Plan Taking Root - WSJ.com -
John (bird whisperer)
"DETROIT—Three years ago, financial-services entrepreneur John Hantz proposed converting as much as 10,000 acres of vacant private and city-owned property here into the world's largest for-profit urban farm, restoring swaths of land to the tax rolls and changing the face of Detroit's blighted East Side. John Hantz has a dream: To turn thousands of acres of abandoned land in inner-city Detroit into the world's largest for-profit urban farm. Video and reporting by WSJ's Matthew Dolan. A video on his company's website called the project "Detroit's saving grace." Critics called it a land grab. Now, the Hantz plan is more modest—200 acres to start—and gaining support. Detroit's planning director and economic-development agency have endorsed the sale of city land for the venture, and other skeptics, including Mayor Dave Bing, increasingly accept farming as their best hope for turning Detroit's acres of nothing into something. Separately, the city approved last week a Michigan State University initiative to explore the viability of a $100 million urban-agriculture research center in Detroit that could span as many as 100 acres. "We want to demonstrate that innovation based on metropolitan food production can create new businesses and jobs," Mr. Bing said. Motor City Vacancy Get a closer look at Detroit's vacant lots, and get panoramic views of plots where groups are growing crops in an attempt to fill the void. View Interactive More photos and interactive graphics Large-scale farming in Detroit still faces a number of legal, political and logistical challenges, including concerns about soil quality, the price of the land and the impact on neighbors. The land sale also needs formal approval from the mayor and the city council. This summer, a city commission plans public hearings on a zoning ordinance that would permit for-profit farming. That process will force Detroiters to confront awkward questions about their city's development prospects. Among them: Is the abundance...
I'm glad someone's thinking of it. So much of that abandoned land could be used in a productive way that would actually improve the environment, provide local produce, add beauty, and probably start to create more safety. -
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