Mention Detroit and most people will immediately think about the auto industry or music. Not many would think urban farmland. But that’s exactly what Hantz Group, a Michigan-based financial group, is thinking.
The group has been putting together an ambitious and creative plan to turn large acres of underutilized and vacant inner city land into farmland featuring a mixture of cash crops, ornamental gardens and riding trails.
The Hantz Group, with their Hantz Farms subsidiary, hopes to begin with a 70-acre purchase on the city’s east side, an area that was selected due to its low population density of between zero and nine residents per acre. Working with researchers from Michigan State University, Hantz Farms will determine which crops would be suitable for the land, aiming wherever possible to plant edible crops. Land that has been degraded through industrial use, however, will only be planted with non-edible crops such as Christmas trees.
Ultimately, the Hantz Group is looking at turning up to 10,000 acres of inner city Detroit into urban farmland. In a city riddled with real estate dereliction and economic woes, large scale urban gardens may be just the thing to help get Detroit back in the fast lane.