GM Supports Detroit’s Food Independence Drive

(3BL Media/Just Means) - ​Jim Jarmusch’s latest movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, is partially set in Detroit—its derelict streets and abandoned neighborhoods provide​s​ the ideal ​hideaway for a world-weary vampire​ in search of peaceful solitude​. The movie’s camera tracks along the city, capturing the​ urban landscape, wh​ere ​much latent beauty lurks and is ready to sprout ​once again.

And sprouting it is, as the crisis that has befallen Detroit has triggered the ingenuity of local people in their quest for independence and a new lifestyle. Urban vegetable gardening is one of the solutions that are being pursued by residents, who see in the city’s many empty​ spaces​ an opportunity to revive th​e​ city and feed its inhabitants ​with local produce.

GM​ is once again contributing to Detroit's economy, supporting the city’s sustainability efforts with donations of shipping crates to be repurposed as raised garden beds. So far, the company has donated more than 1,200 crates. The containers that once housed auto parts now hold eggplants, kale, tomatoes, peppers, basil and other types of delicious edible plants.

In a recent blog entry, GM described a recent visit to a garden center called Cadillac Urban Centers, which was the first center it support​ed​. ​GM​ went back ​there ​to attend a garden party at the formerly vacant lot in Southwest Detroit. The garden ​is​ run by Ideal Group and maintained with the help of locals, who have helped take the garden to its third year.

Last Month, GM donated 400 crates to another project called Buckets of Rain in Highland Park. This garden supports soup kitchens such as Detroit Mission Ministries and Cass Community Social Services. Besides donating the crates, GM also donated volunteer staff time to help clean and expand the site.

The company is also supporting a composting operation called Detroit Dirt. It started with the collection of coffee ground and vegetable scraps from Andiamo Riverfront in April and now includes more than 20 other restaurants and a flower shop. The operation has converted more than 36,000 pounds of food into nutrient-rich compost. The compost is then used to fertilize an urban garden of 16 GM crates on top of the Renaissance Center’s Beaubien parking garage. The food grown there goes back to Andiamo from where it is distributed to a warming center across the street that serves Detroit’s homeless community.

​Detroit is not the only city in America that is trying to become food sovereign by farming its empty lots and terraces, but the case of Detroit is particularly inspiring in the face of the economic collapse of the city. Besides producing food for people, it also gives them a metaphor of rebirth, resilience and hope.​

Image credit: GM