Hundreds of Vacant Lots to Become World’s Largest Urban Farm in Detroit

Despite being perhaps naively ambitious, the plan could transform some of the poorest neighborhoods in Detroit into sustainable farming centers and mitigate the city’s food desert

By Lori Zimmer - Source: http://inhabitat.com
Photo © Hantz Farms

Photo © Hantz Farms

Hundreds of vacant lots in Detroit, Michigan will soon be transformed into the world
Hantz Group owner John Hantz conceived of the giant urban farm idea five years ago. Since then, he has been battling the city of Detroit for permission to buy up the 1,500 parcels of vacant city-owned land. Although officials were concerned about selling Hantz so much land for such a small sum, the council finally voted it through with the introduction of the urban farm idea- albeit just barely with a 5-4 vote.

Photo © Hantz Farms

Photo © Hantz Farms

Hantz Group owner John Hantz conceived of the giant urban farm idea five years ago. Since then, he has been battling the city of Detroit for permission to buy up the 1,500 parcels of vacant city-owned land. Although officials were concerned about selling Hantz so much land for such a small sum, the council finally voted it through with the introduction of the urban farm idea- albeit just barely with a 5-4 vote.

Hantz Woodlands purchased the land for just $500,000, but the company plans to invest an additional $3 million over the next three years. The company first plans to remove the trash, tires and debris from the plots, then begin planting hardwood trees by next year. Fifty homes have to be razed, and food crops will soon follow.

Despite being perhaps naively ambitious, the plan could transform some of the poorest neighborhoods in Detroit into sustainable farming centers and mitigate the city’s food desert. Should the project prove successful, Hantz Woodlands will have the option to buy 180 more acres in two years.

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