Community gardens have been popping up all over Detroit in recent years, as local residents work cooperatively to reinvigorate their struggling city. A new project planned for the city’s east side will take the trend a step further. In a partnership between a local nonprofit, two state government agencies, and the community at large, a nearly abandoned plot will be transformed into a community herb and vegetable garden with an adjacent building for community events and classes. True to form, the project can’t take off without healthy community support, and a crowdfunding campaign is underway to raise half of the money needed to build the much-needed resource.
Wolverine Human Services is the nonprofit organizing the project for the Jefferson-Mack neighborhood of east Detroit, near its addiction recovery facility Wolverine Center and the John S. Vitale Community Center. The East Side Community Garden and Farmers Market’s crowdfunding campaign, launched on Patronicity on July 25, aims to raise $50,000. If that goal is met, two state agencies (Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority) will double the funds through their Public Spaces, Community Places grant match program for a total project budget of $100,000. In a neighborhood on the brink of blight, the project seeks to add a community garden and training facility where residents can tend crops, learn about sustainability and farming, and build strong relationships with their neighbors.
The garden will include a series of 4-foot by 8-foot raised beds, with paved pathways that meet ADA Accessibility regulations so that all Detroit residents will be welcome and able to participate in growing their own herbs and vegetables. The site will also be home to a mixed-use building, which will host farmers’ markets, retail events, a classroom, and act as storage for agricultural equipment. Wolverine promises the center will be a safe place for residents to work and learn, with abundant lighting and security.
Crowdfunding will continue until September 22, 2016. At the time of this report, the campaign has raised more than half of its $50,000 goal.
Images via Wolverine Human Services