Out on the road to find inspiring, less-well-known nabes devoted to the fresh, the local, the sustainable—and the drinkable.
Photo: Erica Gannett
Urban advocates across America are discovering what Detroit understood 120 years ago: Farmers' markets boost local economies. Since 1891, Detroit's Eastern Market has expanded to three open-air halls to accommodate more than 250 vendors and Saturday crowds of up to 40,000. The latest addition is Detroit Market Garden, a 2.5-acre, nonprofit urban farm yielding 60 kinds of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Eastern Market is a symbol of something larger afoot. Detroit was hammered by the recession, but its citizens are fighters, and pockets of the city are starting to look like an urban offshoot of Farmville. To fight blight and source more local fresh food, neighbors began tearing down fences and planting gardens as far back as the 1990s. Today, more than 382 community gardens and 64 schoolyard farms are flourishing in the Motor City—and more urban farms are in the works, with hundreds of individuals and organizations like the Garden Resource Program Collaborative providing seeds and know-how.