The Garden Detroit is a Michigan community-based non-profit organization, which has as its mission to transform vacant land into beautiful and productive landscapes. What we mean by “beautiful” is to create attractive and well-maintained park-like landscapes where a variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables and herbs are grown. And what we mean by “productive” is to grow some crops to market and create local jobs. While The Garden Detroit also aims to develop local food systems, where growing numbers of people will have access to healthy and affordable organic produce, here we will focus on our project Detroit Abloom and the benefits of cut flower farming.
Neighborhood Stabilization Impact: Considering the need for good jobs, the abundant blighted vacant land in our neighborhoods and the market potential of locally grown flowers to positively impact the economics, social dynamics and environment of the community, it makes sense that a community-operated cut flower business can be an excellent way to help revitalize a neighborhood.
By transforming blighted land into beautiful and productive landscapes, not only do we bust blight, but we simultaneously create places of sanctuary that can draw the community together. Replacing blighted lots with beauty and providing the opportunity for residents to engage cohesively in meaningful work, can potentially benefit everyone.
Community Impact: Detroit Abloom reflects a prescriptive approach to building a flower business, one that holds sustainability – economic, environmental and social – as a long-term goal of the community. An immediate goal will be to invite the neighborhood into a discussion of how we can build a flower business that can benefit the community in every way possible. An expert says, “The social impact of gardens can be particularly pronounced when blighted lots requiring city maintenance are transformed into places of beauty that foster safe places for neighborhood interaction, decision-making, problem-solving, creativity and celebration.”
Our recently installed hoop house at 305 Newport is already an outdoor classroom where the community can attend free monthly gardening workshops. People are also welcome to germinate their seedlings in the hoop house and over-winter their dahlia tubers in our underground root cellar.
Looking towards the future, the central goal ofDetroit Abloom is to educate and inspire young people about local flower production, marketing, community leadership and environmental stewardship by involving them in every aspect of the flower business.
Economic Impact: Jobs are the bottom line in rescuing the local economy and when they literally grow up from the Earth, it keeps people rooted to their community. Last year we created one full-time and four Part-time jobs and this year at least two additional part-time jobs. By buying bouquets and lavender value-added products from Detroit Abloom, you help to provide revenue for us to build infrastructure, cover operational expenses and create local jobs. We envision that by working together as a community, Detroit Abloom flower farms, blight removal and job creation can grow exponentially.
Environment Impact: Everything about Detroit Abloom benefits the environment. We are 100% organic, meaning that we do not use synthetic chemicals that contaminate the land and our bodies. Essentially, Detroit Abloom is an outdoor classroom of innovative ways to manage storm water, nurture the honey bee population, use native plants, improve biodiversity, recycle organic matter, detoxify contaminated soil and much more.
Spiritual Impact: Our worldly activities, whether we realize it or not, must find balance with nature. Pure and simple, this much-needed balance is an issue of survival for our spirits. Detroit Abloom cut flower farming will provide sanctuary by designing landscapes that satisfy our soul’s attraction to beauty, peace, solace and celebration. In this way, cut flower farming can serve the higher needs of our community by providing peaceful settings for people of all ages to relax, unwind, reflect and restore themselves. Detroit Abloom gardens will be places where people can stop worrying, observe nature and learn from it, awaken one’s mind and senses and live in the present moment.