Questions and Answers
On a side street in an old industrial neighborhood, a delivery man stacks a dolly of goods outside a store. Ten feet away stands another man clad in military fatigues, combat boots and what appears to be a flak jacket. He looks straight out of Baghdad. But this isn't Iraq. It's southeast Detroit, and he's there to guard the groceries.
"No pictures, put the camera down," he yells. My companion and I, on a tour of how people in this city are using urban farms to grow their own food, speed off.
May be nothing new for Detroit, but it is what's coming for all the country….this "CHANGE" is surely not what most were thinking of with the Great ______ "HOPE" came into office.
I Grew up in Detroit and went to College in Nashville, so I made that trip about 20 times over 5 years. I have a coupe of suggestions.
You can generally follow the major highway route 275 out of Detroit to 75 down to Cincinnati then 71 to Louisville and finally 65 into Nashville. What you can do is to slip over onto some of the old state highways that generally follow this route. While it isn't exactly like going to the Grand Canyon, you will see some beautiful farm country and small quaint towns.
My second suggestion is to go to your local Boarders or Barnes & Noble book store and take a close look at their travel section. There are a number of travel guides that might be helpful. Look for books that talk about Road Trips etc.
"Off the beaten path" guide books might be helpful or National Geographic Travel Guides.
Also check out the websites for the individual states you will be going through. Sometimes they have tourist guides or maps that will list senic routes.
What you will probably end up doing is taking the major highways and then adding some dievitionns along the way.
If so: how do you think it will help the economy and, communities?
If not: Why do you think it may become a failure?
The thing that will save Detroit is caring.
But first, historically Detroit has looked at "Big" things to transform the city. The RenCen was going to rescue downtown, Big Auto was going to solve unemployment, Big Government would solve social ills, Big road projects would save driving times … Big, bigger, biggest.
The notion that anything big is going to land and save us is a fantasy.
The idea of small is better. Small grocers, small florists, dry cleaners, shoe shops, jewelers, cafes … Small businesses give the owners a stake in the future growth of the city. I gives employees a face to work for, a family to become a member of. When one works for a faceless "Board of Directors" you don't have the same kind of personal involvement as when you work for a person or family. When you work for Mr. Big you don't care about him because he doesn't care about you.
The small farming movement gives people a connection to their neighborhood and their neighbors that is not possible if you get your food from Kroger. That personal involvement, personal connection results in a more cohesive neighborhood. You know who lives there, you care about them, and you are less prone to break the windows of a house when you know who lives there. Likewise you won't like it when you see some punks terrorize people you know and care about.
The small plot farming movement is making a difference. I know of a guy named Mark Covington who got fed up with scrappers dumping their debris on a couple of empty lots down the street from his home. He cleaned-up the lot and decided he'd plant a little garden. Soon neighbors started showing up to help him and now this little 10 x 10 garden has expanded to occupy a total of 7 lots in the neighborhood. Mark has started a fruit tree lot, sweet corn, and vegetable lots. He also is raising chickens and sells the eggs to a couple of high-end places.
He is also in the process of rehabbing a local neighborhood store. It had become a crack house and fencing operation when the owner became a addict … Now it will soon be changed into a community center and a place where neighbors can buy healthy food instead of the usual pop/chips/pizza crap found at urban stores.
The name of the place is the Georgia Street Community Garden.
Is farming a long-term solution? No, but as we've learned from the auto-industry, nothing is forever, except people. Take care of the people. Let them care about each other and a new city will bloom.
Amazing 11 year old athlete