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 markets. The Share program provides a monthly box of food distribution to low-income residents.
- Grow fresh produce for the Brightmoor food pantry, and for sale at neighborhood farmers’ markets in Detroit through the Grown in Detroit collaborative. Partner with grassroots organizations to provide community meals.
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.
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.
Each of the 51 participating schools has six raised beds that are used to grow a variety of produce for their school cafeterias. In addition to promoting healthy eating, The Greening’s team is working with the DPS Office of Science to incorporate components of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) with outdoor lessons in the garden. Participating schools also receive nutrition education curriculum, in-class support, teacher training, and garden support from the Office of School Nutrition and Greening staff.
In the fall of 2013, The Greening’s urban agriculture team facilitated teacher training sessions for all of the participating schools. Sessions included the release and overview of 10 new DSGC nutrition education lessons, special training on over 40 activities for grades K-8 and 9-12, and lesson role plays.