Green in the D – Introducing some of Detroit’s biggest green thumbs
The city of Detroit has a long history of agriculture. Ribbon trusses put in place by French settlers in the 1800s helped lay the foundation for the city’s current layout. Many of these families still have streets named after them, such as the St-Aubin family and the Beaubien family.
African Americans who lived in the city and especially those who migrated to Detroit from the south during the Great Migration in the mid-Jim Crow era frequently cultivated gardens in the yards of their homes.
As Detroit’s population shrinks, more and more empty land is prompting proponents of urban agriculture to create more urban farms that negate the negative effects of shrinkage like neglect and instead generate job opportunities and bring fresh fruits and vegetables to residents.
According to UrbanUtopias.net, urban agriculture has many other benefits for Detroit residents, including beautification, increased physical activity for residents, and a positive effect on climate change and fossil fuel use, as most Food in the United States travels an average of more than 1,500 miles from farm to table.
It is estimated that there are over 3,000 farms and gardens in Detroit generating about 5% of the city’s produce.
Here are some of our favorite city farms. Be sure to visit and support them, online and in person.
D-Town Farm sits on 7 acres in the heart of Detroit’s Rouge Park. One of the best-known urban farms in the metro area, D-Town Farm is dedicated to promoting the value of food security for communities that have historically been disenfranchised and subjected to food deserts.
The farm also offers beekeeping, solar energy and large-scale composting.
1624 Meldrum Street Detroit, 48207
Earthworks is 2.5 acres of unique edible flowers, many of which are not commonly found in the United States, as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Run by the Capuchin Friars, their products are sold through the Grown in Detroit Cooperative and are served to the thousands of underprivileged Detroiters who visit the Capuchin Soup Kitchen each year.
9227 Godwin Street Detroit, 48211
Located in the historic North End, Oakland Avenue Urban Farm is a program of North End Christian Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit community organization dedicated to cultivating healthy foods, sustainable economies, and active cultural environments. .
Oakland Avenue is part of Shop Detroit Farms, a collaborative network of Detroit growers and producers who strive to provide environmentally and socially just food. According to their website, the organization “elevates and celebrates black leadership, black self-determination, and black joy.”
7432 Brush St., Detroit, 48202
An “agrihood” that aims to place its farm at the center of this emerging neighborhood, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 3-acre farm focused on food insecurity in the North End. MUFI plans to establish a community resource center and offers its neighbors the use of tools and other items needed to maintain their personal gardens. Working closely with the North End Block Club, MUFI encourages its many volunteers to carry out large clean-up projects that benefit the entire neighborhood.
MUFI products are free for all and the farm is open for harvest on Saturday mornings.
In addition to urban farms, parks are excellent green spaces in Detroit. Here are some of our favorite parks and green spaces in the city.
The Dequindre Cut Greenway is a two-mile urban recreational trail that opened to the public in May 2009, but has continued to evolve over the years. The greenway features a 20-foot-wide paved pathway with separate lanes for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. There are also several murals along the paths in the Perfect Cut for art lovers.
The Cut ramps are located at Atwater Street, Franklin Street, Woodbridge Street, Lafayette Street, Gratiot Avenue, Wilkins Street and Mack Avenue.
21860 Joy Road, Detroit 48228
With over 1,100 acres of green space with 12 playgrounds, 3 swimming pools and several ball diamonds, Rouge Park is one of the oldest and most family-friendly parks in the city.
The park has many streams and tributaries including the Franklin River, Farmbrook Branches, and Pebble Creek. Detroit’s largest city park, Rouge Park is supported by The Friends of Rouge Park, a dynamic non-profit group that raises funds to maintain the space through special events, fundraisers and tourism.
It is called the jewel of the city of Detroit. Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre island park located in Detroit with historical, environmental and cultural resources that have been enjoyed for generations. The park is home to Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center, James Scott Memorial Fountain, and more.
Admission to the park is $11 for an annual Michiganders pass, but those walking or biking on the island don’t have to pay to enter. A guest pass is $9 per day per car.
For our final “Green in the D” category, check out some of Detroit’s recreational cannabis dispensaries.
Cannabis became legal for recreational use in Michigan in 2018. The state generated over $985 million in industry revenue in 2020 and over $1 billion in 2021. As cannabis becomes Most popular among adults 21 and older, the industry has spawned supporting businesses like cultivators, edible creators, and cannabis-related events. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite dispensaries where you can buy Michigan’s new favorite “flower.”
One of the metro area’s newest dispensaries, Common Citizen believes that people matter first and that the things that unite us are more important than our differences. They write on their website that they “believe we all share a common experience of striving to be the best version of ourselves every day.”
Common Citizen has four stores in the state, with Hazel Park being one of the best and largest with medical and recreational sales. Their Detroit store is located downtown and is for medical customers only.
Common Citizen stores sell cannabis flowers, CBD products, and more.
2238 Holbrook Ave
Hamtramck, MI 48212
With a very cool location in Hamtramck, Pleasantrees is one of the most popular cannabis retail outlets in the metropolitan area. According to the company’s website, every Pleasantrees store is designed with one goal in mind: to make you feel more comfortable than any dispensary you’ve visited.
Pleasantrees has knowledgeable ‘guides’ who greet you with a warm smile, a genuine interest in your needs and will help you find the right product every time. Prices at Pleasantrees can start as low as $10 and their knowledgeable staff makes the shopping experience a learning one as well.
A black-owned dispensary, House of Zen boasts some of the most unique and flavorful THC edibles in the metro area. From peanut butter to honey, House of Zen offers over 40 different edibles. Located near the Eastern Market, the store also carries products from some of the most sought-after producers in the state.
Reviewers gave House of Zen a 4.7 out of 5. One reviewer wrote, “For a startup, they have a nice wide range of quality strains. The staff are friendly and it’s refreshing to see a minority, female-owned dispensary. Other reviewers call shopping at House of Zen a great experience with great promotions and exceptional service.