Concerns over city planning, regulation delay urban farming
When Detroit's city council approved the sale of 20 parcels of land to the proposed Hantz Farms project this month, it looked like commercial urban agriculture might be about to start in the city.
But the council imposed restrictions on the sale of the land, which lies behind a warehouse owned by businessman John Hantz at 17403 Mt. Elliott. Hantz Farms, a subsidiary of the larger Hantz Group of financial service firms, cannot grow crops or sell any produce from the site without the city's permission.
Instead, Hantz Farms will beautify the roughly 5 acres of blighted land behind the warehouse with landscaping, either with grass or some small plants, as a demonstration of how it can clean up an abandoned site, said Michael Score, the president of Hantz Farms and a former Michigan State University agricultural extension worker.
Hopefully soon, Score added, the city will allow Hantz Farms to farm the site and others in the city.
"This year, we'll focus on site preparation, and we'll begin planting the plants that will beautify the area and demonstrate our concept," he said. Hantz added, "The farm's no longer some pipe dream."
Continued at: http://www.freep.com/article/20110329/BUSINESS04/103290329/0/COL01/In-Detroit-urban-farming-waiting-take-root?odyssey=nav|head