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Farmer from "Up North" focuses on bringing fresh food to Detroit

May 26, 2015

Credit Buckets of Rain / Facebook

Chris Skellenger likes to say he's gone from ornamental to survival horticulture. That's because he used to run a landscape company and nursery near his home in Empire on the Leelenau Peninsula, but these days he drives each week to Highland Park where he tends an urban farm that produces fresh food for people whose nearest food source might just be a gas station or convenience store.

Skellenger is the co-founder and director of field operations at the non-profit called Buckets of Rain. After working in Africa, setting up drip-irrigation systems, he turned his attention to Detroit.

"In Detroit you have people who used to have something but now they don't. We realized we needed to be working here and not overseas."

Skellenger has partnered with the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and Cass Community Social Services. 

"Maybe we can reduce their food budget, reduce their bill, and they can take that money and turn it into other things like free health care or job training or drug rehabilitation or definitely, emergency shelter."

Listen to Chris Skellenger talk more about urban farming in our conversation above.