Hello from the Sol Food Bus! We have just completed garden work and outreach in the Detroit, Michigan area and have dubbed this week of travel as our favorite city stop thus far! It was an incredible five days filled with new friends, hard work and knowledge shared. We are so grateful to everyone in Detroit who showed us amazing hospitality and we miss you all already as we travel down the road.
Our bus rolled into Detroit to find its first stop at an urban farming organization called Earthworks in southwest Detroit. The stop consisted of working on one of many Earthworks urban farms and touring their neighborhood network of community gardens. The Earthworks farm we worked with was linked with the local Food Pantry and was impressive on every level of production. Earthworks trains tons of community members each year through their rigorous nine month farmer training program and their two year long internship. We spent the day with a wonderful group of community interns and farm students who showed us the ropes of their operation. We toured their hoop houses, shifted compost, prepared new sections of soil and planted a round of early fall crops. It was an awesome day spent with wonderful people!
Following our time in southern Detroit, we moved into the center and northern corners of the city. We met a huge community of local food advocates and policy makers at the monthly “Food Justice Fridays” gathering that we attended early in the week. The evening of food and speeches was hosted in a local community center near Wayne State University and gathered over sixty people. The dinner was prepared by local food organizations in the neighborhood and was delicious from start to finish- with fresh hibiscus iced tea, homemade pesto and garden salad and watermelon for dessert! It was a treat to be a part of such an inspiring community event and we hope to return to Detroit one day for that very reason.
The highlight of our experience in Detroit however was our garden work with the More Food Community Garden in northern Detroit. Founded and maintained by Gene and Shela, two wonderful neighbors to the plot, the More Food Community Garden is a testament to what dedicated individuals can do with hard work and determination. Upon our arrival it was clear to us immediately that this garden had a lot to offer- with fruit and veggies hanging heavy on their vines and direct summer sun shining across every beautiful row! Gene and Shela have arranged with the city of Detroit to have the space dedicated as a community farm and they work tirelessly to keep it so. We assisted during our time there with repairing their rain water collection system, laying drip tape and building signs and a farm stand table.
With the collaboration of our team, Gene, Shela and Velma, a neighbor to the garden, we were able to accomplish a lot of work in only three days. The garden is now looking as sharp as ever and we are so blessed to have gained three new friends in the Detroit area from that wonderful week. Now our travels take us further west into Ann Arbor, Michigan for a few days and then into Chicago for a week. More updates to come!