DETROIT — Detroit Farm and Garden, a landscape, farm and garden supply store, is open and growing in the former Third Police Precinct in Southwest Detroit.
“The store supports Detroit’s communities,” says co-owner Jeff Klein who has lived and worked in the Detroit for more than 15 years. “Small businesses in the landscape, farming and cottage industries require resources that are not readily available in the city. Homeowners, schools and community gardeners interested in enhancing their environment also need these resources. We are here to bridge these gaps.”
Urban farming in Detroit, which has existed primarily in the form of home-based market gardens, community gardens, and family gardens, is asserting itself as a growing and important piece of the local economy. Urban gardening has been present for a long time in Detroit from Hazen Pingree’s turn of the century Potato Patch Farms to the city of Detroit’s Farm-A-Lot program, which many credit as the beginning of the modern urban agriculture movement in the city.
Klein says Detroit Farm and Garden embodies a trend and model for entrepreneurship and re-investment in the city that seeks to magnify the effect individual businesses can have by supporting other local businesses and community initiatives. Open since April, Detroit Farm and Garden helps support and sustain community-based green initiatives by being an accessible hub for other activists and curious onlookers ready to get involved in this movement. The company caters to these individuals by offering a wide range of quality materials, complemented by a staff possessing diverse knowledge in farming, gardening, landscaping and community leadership.
“My experiences as a homeowner, urban farming activist and landscape architect, facilitating projects in Detroit, gave me valuable insight into the needs and possibilities for this community-minded venture.” Klein says.
Brian Allnutt, store manager affirms, “Detroit Farm and Garden is the kind of institution that could help take community transformation to the next level. It’s one of the few resources in the city for entrepreneurs like landscapers, farmers and gardeners who often build businesses through hard work on a small initial investment.”
“We hope to help inspire and empower people to take control of the physical landscape in ways that are good for the community,” says store employee and food activist Jen Rusciano.