Growing up in Detroit, every kid I knew had a mom or a dad who worked for the auto industry. For twenty years, my mom worked at a warehouse that distributed wiring harnesses to Ford Motor Company. That job put braces on my and my brother’s teeth paid for our skateboards and our weekend trips up north.

My mother was tough, the Michigan stiff upper lip hardened by wage labor and cold winters. I had never seen my mother cry until I was a teenager––on the day I picked her up from her last day of work. She’d already survived three waves of layoffs, but finally got her pink slip with a gold clock and a low-ball severance check.

All my life, I watched the decline of the city, and suffering with it were all of us who’d hitched our hopes to the great American industrial dream of making cars for the greatest country on earth. I never got to see Detroit in its true heyday. But I knew enough to know what it meant to lose that.

My mother may have lost her job, but she never lost that stiff upper lip. And so it was with Detroit—the city that lost its engine but never lost its drive. And now, where nature has reclaimed vast stretches of the abandoned rust belt, Detroiters are reclaiming their spirits. Wherever there is grass, there is a chance to put food on the table. And where there is a chance to put food on the table, there’s a chance for a new start. Now, all around the city of Detroit, a growing movement of urban farmers is changing the way people think about food—and life in the “D”. It took men like Henry Ford, William Durant, and Lee Iacocca to build this city, but it’s taken a bunch of strong willed self-taught urban farmers to save it.

– Mark MacInnis, Director