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November 24, 2013

Years ago I suggested that vacated areas of Detroit be bulldozed and converted to farmland. The farms could be given to displaced South African farmers.

Areas once cursed with black crime would literally thrive with life and vitality. The land would not only become productive with food and fuel, but would also provide tax revenue for the city's struggling infrastructure.

No one listened, of course. Why would they?

Others, obviously had similar ideas. And so it is that portions of Detroit are being cleared of debris and decay to make room for a tree farm.

Urban decay to be replaced with farmland in Detroit

By Perry Chiaramonte / Fox News

Bankrupt and hemorrhaging population, the city of Detroit is banking on greener pastures to lead its rebirth.

A private company is snapping up 150 acres on the Motor City's East End -- property where more than 1,000 homes once formed a gritty neighborhood -- and turning it into what is being billed as the world's largest urban farm. Hantz Woodlands plans to start by planting trees, but hopes to raise crops and even livestock in the future, right in the midst of the once-proud city.

“We are interested with moving into different types of agriculture,” Mike Score, president of Hantz, told

Hantz needed approval from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to buy up the 1,500 parcels for approximately $450,000, or $300 per parcel. Many of the parcels held dilapidated and abandoned homes and buildings and were condemned by the city. Others were rubble-strewn or weed-choked lots. The company intends to spend $3 million to clean out the areas.

“Your eyes would have a hard time absorbing the blight,” Score said. “A third of every neighborhood in Detroit has been devalued by blight on public property.

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