As residents have increasingly moved from urban centers to suburbs, several cities have not been able to create effective solutions to the problems that such population loss has presented. Abandoned properties have proven to be the primary problem, and nowhere is that problem more pronounced than in Detroit. Urban agriculture has been widely embraced on a grassroots level as a potential solution to the pervasive problems that abandoned properties present and that cities have been unable to solve. While urban agriculture networks have largely arisen outside of municipal control, several cities are beginning to recognize urban agriculture as a potential tool for urban revitalization. However, there is a basic problem: many cities in which urban farming has flourished are riddled with brownfields. It is possible for cities and the urban agriculture community to turn this obstacle into an opportunity if they work together. By utilizing the Michigan Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act to incentivize urban farming, Detroit could not only promote urban agriculture as a cost-effective tool for the revitalization of some of Detroit’s most distressed neighborhoods, but could also ensure that the farmers and the food they produce are safe from toxic contamination. By encouraging urban farms, Detroit will for the first time have a truly viable strategy to reversing blight and revitalizing some of the city’s most depressed areas.
Utilizing Michigan Brownfield Policies to Incentivize Community-Based Urban Agriculture in Detroit,
Mich. J. Envtl. & Admin. L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjeal/vol3/iss2/7