In the third part of our earthrise special on urban agriculture in Detroit, Russell Beard learns about Earthworks, a highly-productive 0.8 hectare urban farming hub that supplies would-be city farmers with everything they need from support to seedlings.
Farm manager Patrick Crouch believes it is important that his students can go on to make a reasonable living from urban farming. Earthworks gives most of its food to a soup kitchen, but if it sold all of its fresh produce, starter plants, honey and jam it would make around $200,000 per year. The farm is also incubating several urban farming start-ups, from a composting company to a herbal tea firm.
One woman who benefits from Earthworks' starter plants is veteran city farmer Edith Floyd. As the number of houses on Floyd's street dropped from 64 to six she has gradually taken over many of the empty lots, in a practice known as 'blotting' or backyard lotting. With the help of her orange tractor, Floyd hopes to plant fruit and vegetables all along her road, and even set up a drive-through fruit market.
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