If you want more freedom: grow some of the food you eat and you will get it. If you want to lift up and stabilize a local economy, then support and promote urban agriculture—particularly through education in the schools because children lead and influence their parents and the future.
It seems that an urban community must be in the direst of straits before its people will turn to urban agriculture and sustainable living as a solution for their local economy. The “nothing left to lose” local economy of Detroit Michigan is one of the most outstanding examples. Of all the American cities, Detroit is the one that has been hardest hit by the financial downturn of the 21st century and the mismanagement by its local leaders. And today, Detroit has the most successful urban agriculture projects and examples of upcoming urban agricultural entrepreneurship than any other city in the nation.
Perhaps residents in an urban area must wait until the last deck chair holding the empty promises of chain store retail renewal has slid off the deck of their local economy before they will seriously turn to urban agriculture. Perhaps there is some turning point in all the unfulfilled promises of the global economy when people wake up. However, if Detroit is any indication, that point will not come until the local infrastructure is COMPLETELY broken--shredded beyond any resemblance to its former self and the city coffers have been emptied. When there is no other possible solution on the horizon, perhaps then people will look to urban agriculture.
LOOK AT A FEW OF THE FACES BEHIND URBAN AGRICULTURAL ENTERPRISES IN DETROIT
These are the kinds of visionary people we should be talking with--not traditional retail/commercial developers. All we are going to get from those people is more of them same--and we can't afford that. We need to start having conversations that will bring results, not more empty promises.
From the City of Detroit Michigan we have:
After college Pashon worked for a while in corporate America before embarking on a career of advocacy. Pashon has lobbied for Repower America, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club. In 2009 she met Greg Willerer, a pioneer of urban farming in Detroit. Willerer wanted to grow food locally and Murray wanted to reduce waste. Together they launched Detroit Dirt. They rallied local restaurants and grocery stores to set aside their scraps. Each month Detroit Dirt picks up 25,000 pounds. Today they are creating a line of composting products.
Greg Willerer is also founder of Brother Nature Products – a successful urban farm in Corktown, Detroit. (Corktown is the oldest extant neighborhood in Detroit.)
Blair Evans – Founder of “Incite Focus” a platform for community production which demonstrates the revolutionary potential of applying permaculture principles in the context of Detroit’s DIY maker culture.
NOTE: I would like to see such a lab established within the Walkable Main Street Village. Permaculture is an approach to systems design with deep roots in agriculture, but with implications for just about everything. By observing self-sustaining ecosystems of the natural world, we can design systems of our own. An example of this type of systems design in action is the invention of Velcro. George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, in the 1940's while hunting in the Jura Mountains realized that the tiny hooks of the cockle-burs were stuck on his pants and in his dog's fur and wondered how they attached themselves . . .
Incite Focus is a world-recognized, state-of-the-art production and training lab focused on the relationships between digital fabrication, permaculture, experiential learning, and appropriate technology. It is a key fabrication lab to combine these four areas of interest, which provides a holistic approach to sustainable community building. Incite Focus serves a community of thinkers and doers from students as young as 14 years of age, to young adults, to the neighborhood community group. It is a collaborative learning space where concepts and ideas are realized through technologies that give its users the capacity to create personal, household, community, commercial and industrial products using best-practices.
Blair offers a glimpse of what is possible when a balance between consumption and production, between needs and wants, between individual and community is maintained. According to him, this all comes down to creating an environment and cultural context in which people are able to truly maximize their capacity as people. According to him: “In permaculture you are not a slave to the process. You are a participant in the process. “ Inspired by the close study of nature, pursuits of designing, making, growing, community building and imagining new and better futures are all possible.
We have an ideal space in Garland to establish a hub for a local plant based, sustainable and stable local economy--the proposed “Walkable Main Street Village.”
If you want to learn more about it and even add to the plans yourself, take a look at some of the related documents in this Document Directory. Then send your ideas to Mayor Douglas Athas of Garland Texas.
Explore a growing body of knowledge about an exciting ongoing project to create a plan for building a vibrant sustainable mixed-use neighborhood!