As city officials ponder proposals for urban farms, a Michigan State University study indicates that a combination of urban farms, community gardens, storage facilities and hoop houses – greenhouses used to extend the growing season – could supply local residents with more than 75 percent of their vegetables and more than 40 percent of their fruits.
The study, which appears in the current issue of The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, evaluates many aspects of the production potential of the Motor City’s vacant properties, from identifying available parcels of land to addressing residents’ attitudes toward blending agrarian traits with their urban lifestyles.
“What’s clear from our production analysis is that even with a limited growing season, significant quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables eaten by Detroiters could be grown locally,” said Kathryn Colasanti, the graduate student who led the study for the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU. “And investments in produce storage facilities and hoop houses would increase this capacity substantially.”
As part of the analysis, MSU cataloged available land that had no existing structures. Using aerial imagery and the city’s database of vacant property, researchers identified 44,085 available vacant parcels, which span 4,848 acres. To paint a more realistic picture, the database excluded land in and around parks, golf courses, cemeteries, churches, schools and more, said Mike Hamm, who leads the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems.
“Our totals are conservative,” he said. “But it may be closer to representing the quantity of land more readily available for urban farms and gardens because these parcels are publicly owned and clear of any buildings.”
Along with pinpointing properties, the study also addressed public opinion on the issue. Different groups value urban farms for different reasons. Some groups see farms and gardens as a means to provide for their families and to bring in some additional income. People connected with urban agriculture organizations emphasized how such efforts strengthen neighborhood bonds. Some senior citizens and youth embraced the concept as a way to access higher-quality foods.
These attitudes could be tempered by a variety of factors related to implementing urban farms and gardens, such as increased activity and noise, perimeter fencing, free gardens used to draw neighborhoods together versus those that sell their products profit, altering the urban landscape with a semi-rural feel and more.
“These different opinions can co-exist,” Hamm said. “But because they could also come into conflict, there is a need to engage in diverse communities to create a vision for the form and scale of urban agriculture in Detroit.”
The study was supported in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Fair Food Foundation.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences