Food And Drinks

Keep Growing Detroit Raises Funds to Purchase Farm in Eastern Market

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Keep Growing Detroit – a food sovereignty organization that works with gardeners and farmers in Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck – is raising funds to purchase the 1.3-acre property in Eastern Market, where it grows its crops and its urban agriculture program performs.

Launched in early April, the campaign aims to meet this week’s fundraising goal with the help of a dollar-for-dollar matching gift from an anonymous donor to the charitable fund For the Love of the Land (up to $ 20,000) to reach. Donations will now be matched through Friday April 30th.

For more than a decade, through various programs, Keep Growing Detroit has worked toward the vision of a city where most of the produce Detroiters consume is grown by its residents. The organization runs the nationally recognized Garden Resource Program and Grown in Detroit, which helps Detroiters become gardeners, community leaders, and food business owners. All work takes place at KGD Farm near Wilkins and Orleans in the Eastern Market district.

COVID-19 increased demand for Keep Growing Detroit products, programs, and educational services as Detroiters faced food shortages, unexpected school closings, and longer queues at grocery banks among grocers. In 2020, KGD provided resources to nearly 2,000 urban farms and family gardens, a significant increase over the previous year. Keep Growing Detroit’s leadership was also instrumental in setting up the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund last year – a Herculean fundraiser that raised $ 60,000 to provide grants to local growers. Now the organization is looking for similar support to secure its future in the fast developing food district of Eastern Market.

“Without the security of land ownership, we are always vulnerable,” said Ashley Atkinson, co-director of Keep Growing Detroit. “We want to maintain what we have grown and deepen our roots in the community. The land purchase allows us to continue our work for Detroit and expand what we have to offer and whom we can serve. “

The purchase of the farm from Eastern Market Development Corp. would enable KGD to build permanent structures. invest in more greenhouse space; and increase the number of elevated tunnels in the fields, creating more space for the distribution of food, crops and plants.

In addition to growing most of the crops on the Eastern Market property, the organization also offers online orders for roadside-pick-up products, graft distributions, as well as virtual cooking classes and educational demonstrations during the pandemic.

A 2017 report by the Detroit Food Policy Council estimated that around 48 percent of urban households lack access to enough affordable or nutritious food. This is an issue that was exacerbated during the pandemic, according to a Food Security Council report prepared in 2020 by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

• KGD Farm Fundraiser [Official]
• A guide to farms and markets in southeast Michigan selling products, plant starts, and more [ED]
• How Detroit’s urban farming community is dealing with coronavirus restaurant closings [ED]
• Detroit’s farmers are losing patience with the city’s outdated livestock laws [ED]

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Dusty Kennedy