urban farming

Politics & Government
11:24 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Controversial Right to Farm decision expected Monday

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A state board is likely to make a decision today on a controversial rule that would end certain legal protections for people raising chickens and other livestock in residential areas.

The rule change would take protections under the state’s Right to Farm Act away from people living in residentially zoned areas. The changes would not outlaw backyard chickens and other livestock.

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Hantz Farms finally gets green light for massive Detroit farm

Mike Score is the president of Hantz Farms, which plans to plant 15,000 hardwoods on the east side of Detroit.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

One of the country’s largest-ever urban farming projects got the green light from Detroit and state officials Friday.

Both Governor Snyder and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr signed off on a development agreement that lets Hantz Farms acquire about 140 acres of land on Detroit’s east side.

Hantz Farms is the brainchild of John Hantz, CEO of the Hantz Group, primarily a financial services company.

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Stateside
4:41 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Backyard chicken farms are on the rise in Michigan

Raising chickens in urban areas is becoming more and more common.
Flickr

An interview with Taylor Reid, the founder of beginningfarmers.org and PhD candidate in Community, Food and Agriculture at Michigan State University.

Cynthia Canty's good friend Susan and her husband are about to move from a townhouse in an Oakland County suburb to a small cottage on about an acre in another Oakland County town. One of her top priorities is to start keeping chickens in her new backyard.

Seems she is not alone. Backyard chicken-raising is on the rise across the state and across the country.

There are now ordinances allowing people to also keep chickens in Ann Arbor, Flint, Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and many other Michigan communities.

Taylor Reid is the founder of beginningfarmers.org and he's a PhD candidate in Community, Food and Agriculture at Michigan State University. He joined us today to talk about why urban chicken raising is on the rise and what the concerns are about this practice.

Listen to the full interview above.

Offbeat
1:38 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Ingham county considers having urban goats

Riet Schumack with her milking goats in northwest Detroit
Ed Morykwas River of Time Photography

Ingham county is considering a proposal that would allow people to keep goats in urban areas.

The proposal would allow up to three miniature dairy goats on residential properties.

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Environment & Science
5:32 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Stateside: Fish farming in Detroit

Noah Link is the co-owner of Food Field. It's a small farm in Detroit's Boston-Edison neighborhood. Link calls the converted shipping container his "post-industrial" farm house.
Mercedes Mejia

The Detroit Planning Commission recently approved a new Urban Agriculture Ordinance. The action takes the city a step closer to officially recognizing the dozens of urban farms and gardens scattered across the city.

The ordinance also defines the kinds of projects that would be allowed, such as farm stands, orchards or greenhouses. Stateside’s Mercedes Mejia reports some residents are experimenting with aquaponic systems. It’s a method of growing crops and fish at the same time.

Noah Link: Over here is our chicken coop. We have about 42 chickens and 4 ducks so far. You can hear the ducks – they’ve awfully loud and hungry probably.

Noah Link is the co-owner of Food Field. He lives and works in the Boston-Edison neighborhood in Detroit. I met up with him on his farm called Food Field. It’s on the site of a former elementary school - imagine a small farm tucked away in the city.

 "So if you go a few blocks one way there are huge historical mansions, and you go a few blocks the other way and it’s all run down old shops, and total poverty, and we’re right in between," he says.

Link and his business partner worked on several farms across the country. They knew it wouldn’t be easy to own a farm, but they’re doing the hard work. On the land are different kinds of crops, chickens, a few beehives, and a young orchard of fruit and nuts trees. There’s also a hoop house to grow vegetables year-round.

"And we’ve just built an aquaponic system to be able to raise fish in there, which I’ll show you."

An aquaponic system is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture - growing plants in water and fish farming.

"And it takes the best of both of those in a self-sustaining system so then rather than having to worry about toxic fish waste to get rid of or keeping it sterile hydroponic environment for your plants, the plants grow out of the waste water from the fish that just get circulated with the pump and they clean out the water to keep it safe for all the fish in the tank," Link says.

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Politics & Government
10:07 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Detroit Council approves mass Hantz Woodlands land sale

A Hantz demonstration site on the city's east side.
Credit via hantzfarmsdetroit.com

The Detroit City Council has narrowly approved the controversial—and long-delayed—Hantz Farms project.

The proposed Hantz Farms project has been discussed for years. Detroit financier had originally proposed creating “the world’s largest urban farm” on some of Detroit’s more than 60,000 vacant, city-owned lots.

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Politics & Government
10:10 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Detroit Council postpones vote on "world's largest urban farm"

Credit Hantz Farms

The Detroit City Council delayed a vote on a controversial urban farm proposal Tuesday.

Hantz Farms had proposed buying more than 140 acres in vacant land on Detroit's east side for a tree farm. It could expand to include other forms of agriculture in the future.

Some Council members were receptive to the idea, but worried about some details. There was concern about approving the plan without a public hearing, and before the city has an urban agriculture ordinance in place.

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Business
3:43 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

Conference looks to reclaim Flint

The city of Flint is hosting a conference this weekend which to look at ways to transform the city.

The Congress for Urban Transformation is bringing activists, artists, urban planners and others to Flint.   The conference is looking at a variety of ways to reclaim Flint, from urban agriculture to improved city planning.

Rob McCullough is the local program coordinator. He says they are looking at new ways to reclaim Flint’s industrial sites and hard hit neighborhoods.

Environment
3:48 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Detroit gardeners frustrated by new rules for city lots

Tony Buser flickr

Community gardeners in Detroit are angry about new permit requirements for gardening on city-owned lots.

Reit Schumack heads an organization on the city’s west side called Neighbors Building Brightmoor, which puts in gardens, wildflower stands and pocket parks on dozens of city lots. Schumack says the new rules include a ban on bringing in new soil or compost, unless the city grants lot-by-lot permission:

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Environment
11:30 am
Thu March 10, 2011

Urban farming in Detroit gets mixed reviews

John Hantz wants to transform Detroit's vacant land into urban farm
Photo courtesy of Hantz Farms

John Hantz wants to turn a blighted swath of Detroit into what he calls "the world’s largest urban farm." But the project, which has been in the works for nearly two years, has been slow to get off the ground. 

City officials just approved a deal to let Hantz Farms buy 20 city lots (about five acres) adjacent to their headquarters. The company plans to clean up the land and create some small orchards.

Roadblocks to city farming

  • Hantz Farms is not allowed to sell anything they grow there.
  • Large-scale farming requires re-zoning for agriculture, which brings the Michigan Right to Farm Act into play; that law is meant to protect farmers from people who complain about the sounds and smells of regular farming. Some people worry it would give Hantz Farms’ neighbors little recourse if there are problems.
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