Stir It Up
Local food for thought
We’re No. 1 — in community gardening!
Published: May 23, 2012
The monolithic auto industry and Detroit's dependence on it is over. Yes, the auto industry is still here and healthier than it was a few years ago. But most of the jobs that left town for cheaper labor markets aren't coming back. At its peak in the 1940s, the Ford Rouge Plant employed about 100,000 workers. With the technology now available, they do the job with a very few thousand.
We need diversity and homegrown businesses to build another economy. And the local food system as discussed at last weekend's conference has the potential to be one piece of that new economy. That's why Michigan State University has proposed investing as much as $100 million into an urban agriculture research site in Detroit, and Hantz Farms, a subsidiary of a financial services company, is looking to locate here.
Food is huge. The bottom line is everybody needs to eat. Every one of Detroit's 714,000 residents needs to eat every day — hopefully more than once. A recent salon.com story about the Whole Foods store coming to town reported that Detroiters spend $200 million each year at grocery stores outside the city. That doesn't include restaurant sales. It would be great if most of that money could be captured and recirculated in Detroit.
Encompassing sustenance, economics and health, the food movement has, so far, grown organically at the grassroots level. It's getting bigger and now demands attention from all of us. Think about that as you sit down for dinner.
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