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Keep Growing Detroit: Fostering a Food Sovereign City

Detroit has always had a robust urban agriculture scene rooted in the resilience and innovation of its residents. For the past decade, Keep Growing Detroit (KGD) has been one of the many organizations, farms and individuals building on this history to strengthen the Detroit food ecosystem and foster food sovereignty. Through their Garden Resource Program, KGD supports over 1,800 food gardens around Detroit and their Grown in Detroit program creates markets for Garden Resource Program grown produce.

During the pandemic, KGD has adapted and adjusted to find ways to deliver their important programming. The Garden Resource Program (GRP) – which supports gardens across Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck with seeds, transplants and education – shifted technical assistance online and facilitated nearly 3,000 curbside seed and plant pickups this spring – a more than 25% increase from previous years. To protect the health of their employees and customers, KGD is not operating their Grown in Detroit stand at Eastern Market. Instead, they’ve innovated to provide new, safe ways for Grown in Detroit growers to sell their produce: an online market and an expansion of their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program.

The KGD online store facilitates cooperation among growers throughout the city and is a convenient way for shoppers to get exclusively Detroit grown produce. Orders are placed Thursday – Monday for Tuesday curbside pick- up at the Keep Growing Detroit Farm in the Eastern Market District. The KGD CSA program is another opportunity for Detroit business to collaborate while providing Detroit residents with Detroit grown food. Shares are available every other week (July 14 – Nov 24) and, in addition to produce, include one value added item from a local Detroit food business. 

Holding firm to their mission of fostering food sovereignty, this month KGD partnered with the Detroit Black Food Security Network (DBCFSN) and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm to launch the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund. As development grows across the city, it is ever more important for growers to become land secure- for their well-being and to ensure Detroiters have access to healthy food. This fund addresses the increased barriers and challenges black farmers face -namely access to capital – when purchasing land. Drawing on community support, the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund seeks to be a strong example of the power of cooperative economics. Interested donors can support this fund here or through cashapp: $detroitblackfarmer.

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If you are a resident of Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park, consider joining Keep Growing Detroit’s Garden Resource Program to support your gardening efforts. Members receive technical support, seeds, Detroit-grown transplants, and other essential gardening resources…even for Fall growing! To learn more about Keep Growing Detroit in general, follow them on social media: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

Photo Credit : Keep Growing Detroit

Kelly Wilson is Taste the Local Difference’s Director of Community Partners. Contact her at kelly@localdifference.org

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  in Agriculture, Detroit, Find Local Food, Southeast Michigan