Monday, 21 August 2017

Green & Healthy Cities?

THE CORE VALUES of National Liberalism include Liberty, Democracy, Independence and Ecology. In respect of the latter, we believe that it’s the duty of man to live in harmony with nature – and not destroy it.

National Liberals believe that we need to live a more sustainable way of life – being less greedy, being less wasteful, using less natural resources and knowing where our food comes from. We feel that this will lead to a more rewarding, healthy, considerate and possibly ‘simpler’ life.

We also passionately believe in the concept that Small is Beautiful! With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that we are not great fans of massive cities and towns. Indeed, we would like to see a wholescale – but totally sustainable – move back to the land.

However, even with our focus on ruralism, cities are a fact of life. The question is how do we make them greener and healthier places in which to live? We believe that the answer may be provided by a project – based in Detroit – run by the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, which seems to successfully combine environmentalism and localism.

The article below originally appeared on the web-site of the Food Revolution Network – https://foodrevolution.org/blog/food-politics/first-sustainable-urban-agrihood/ – to whom we extend acknowledgements. It goes without saying that there are no official links between the Food Revolution Network, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative and the National Liberal Party.

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The First Sustainable Urban Agrihood in the U.S. Could Serve As A Model for Urban Development

Could fresh, healthy, affordable food be the future of urban neighborhood development?

In Detroit, Michigan, “the first sustainable urban agrihood” in the U.S. centers around an edible garden, with easily accessible, affordable produce offered to neighborhood residents and the community.

Each year, this urban farm provides fresh, free produce to 2,000 households within two square miles of the farm. They also supply food to local markets, restaurants, and food pantries.

The concept of agrihoods isn’t new —the Urban Land Institute estimated that about 200 agrihoods had been or were under construction across the U.S. — but this agrihood is unique because it’s the first truly urban agrihood. It plans to operate in a sustainable way and is more accessible than most other agrihoods.

Agrihoods, also called agritopias or community-supported development, are an exciting concept because they create a remarkable improvement to the dominant food system.

They help tackle food insecurity and other community problems. They make it easy for people in low-income communities to get fresh, healthy food. And they give people a connection with the food they eat, the earth, and each other.

All About The First Sustainable Urban Agrihood

The first sustainable urban agrihood, which recently debuted in Detroit, is the project of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative — an all-volunteer nonprofit, which seeks to empower urban communities using sustainable agriculture.

The three-acre development has vacant land, along with occupied and abandoned homes centered around a two-acre urban garden, with more than 300 organic vegetable varieties, like lettuce, kale, and carrots, as well as a 200-tree fruit orchard, with apples, pears, plums, and cherries, a children’s sensory garden, and more.

The nonprofit is also working on other projects that go beyond farming, including:


  • Turning a long-vacant building into a community resource center, which will offer educational programs, event and meeting space for the neighborhood, a nonprofit incubator, and two commercial kitchens
  • Developing a healthy food café, and
  • Restoring a home into student intern housing and an off-grid shipping container.

Other projects to make the place more sustainable include:
  • Installing solar panels,
  • Converting a basement into a water harvesting cistern that will automatically irrigate the garden
  • A public composting toilet, and
  • A retention pond made from the foundation of a blighted home to supply the farm with water.

Could Sustainable Agrihoods Work In Other Urban Areas?

In the U.S., food travels 25% farther than it traveled about 20 years ago. With all this travel, freshness suffers and so does the environment. But more and more people are seeking out locally grown food, so communities that solve this problem in a sustainable way could make a big difference.

With its agrihood in Detroit, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is rethinking how urban spaces are developed and redefining what life in an urban environment looks like.

And perhaps other communities will look to this agrihood as a model to increase healthy, local food and to solve community problems, like hunger and access to fresh food – all while giving people a greater sense of community and happiness, creating more sustainability for cities, and improving our food system.
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