The Greening of Detroit’s urban agriculture department is committed to helping all Detroiters develop a healthy relationship with food through self-sufficient food production, and increased awareness of gardening, nutrition and local food systems. The Greening values environmental stewardship, community leadership and education.
Our focus areas include:
- The Greening is partnering with dozens of schools to create a garden-based curriculum and nutrition education for their school garden programming.
- An adult apprenticeship education program providing 450 hours of hands-on training in farming, agriculture education and building community relationships.
- Community education offerings that include farm-working lessons, tours to local farms, and advanced agriculture workshops.
- A paid youth apprenticeship program to introduce and engage Detroit youth in urban agriculture.
- Provide basic support to gardeners through phone, email and in-office requests.
- Assist community members with new garden development.
- Provide technical assistance and hands-on support when needed, as well as assistance in season extension tools and solar passive greenhouse construction.
- Provide garden resources like soil testing, tilling, raised bed construction and water catchment systems to gardens across the city.
- Supplement the Fresh Food Share program with fresh produce from The Greening’s farm sites. The Fresh Food Share program is a program of the Gleaner’s Community Food bank and provides a monthly box of food distribution to low-income residents.
- Grow fresh produce for sale at farmers’ markets in Detroit, including the Downtown Farmers’ Market at Lafayette Greens (Thursdays 11-4), and at a farm stand at the Detroit Market Garden (Saturdays 10-12).
- Provide weekly shares of produce to Greening of Detroit staff and volunteers through the WESA (Work-Environment Supported Agriculture) program.
The Greening of Detroit’s Farm Gardens
Detroit Market Garden
The Greening of Detroit purchased the Detroit Market Garden property from the city of Detroit in 2009. After site development and building three 30 x 60 movable hoophouses, and one 30 x 144 hoophouse, the 2.5—acre farm garden within Detroit’s eastern market district opened to the public. This garden serves as an urban farming training, production and processing location. Seasonal produce is grown in the hoophouse tunnels year-round.
Self-guided tours, community education, and an adult and youth apprenticeship program are also offered at this site.
Romanowski Farm Park
The Greening of Detroit coordinated the restoration of the 26-acre park in southwest Detroit in 2004, working with community partner organizations and neighborhood residents. Improvements included renovated athletic fields, a new playground with a teaching garden, a “living” pavilion, a fruit orchard, and a small farm garden. The city-owned park is a well-used community space.
The garden and orchard are maintained by The Greening’s apprentice farmers and volunteers. Community residents also take an active role in tending to the garden, planting and harvesting produce, and picking apples and pears from the orchard trees. Romanowski Park is used to educate community residents about, and increase access to urban agriculture, nutrition and healthy food. Most of the produce and fruit is harvested and consumed by the community; the rest is harvested and delivered to market outlets.
Lafayette Greens is a downtown Detroit green space and urban garden The Greening recently acquired through Compuware Corporation. We welcome people of every age, creed and ability to come to Lafayette Greens to enjoy and relax in the space, get involved in educational opportunities and engage with other members of the community through the act of gardening. We grow hundreds of pounds of organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers every year. All that we harvest returns to the community, either back to volunteers who help us to maintain the space, on to community food distributors like Gleaners Community Food Bank, or on to shelters like Freedom House.
Throughout the course of the year, Lafayette Greens offers a variety of exciting programs, tastings, educational workshops, farmers markets and more. Drop-in volunteer hours are Tuesdays, 11- 1 p.m. Join in the fun—we hope to see you soon!
The Greening of Detroit is partnering with The Detroit Public Schools office of Nutrition to create a healthy food culture in 51 elementary schools throughout the city.
Students attending 51 DPS schools noticed healthier food options on the menu last fall, including vegetables grown in their own school gardens. The Greening of Detroit’s urban agriculture team was selected by the DPS Office of School Nutrition to help further develop and manage the Detroit School Garden Collaborative. The goal and mission of the initiative is to help students increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and improve academic achievement. Learn more here.