After much recording, practicing, packing, and scrambling we have hit the road!
Our first stop was Detroit, where we talked with life-long residents and new arrivals about the changing landscape of the city. Before arriving I had heard so many differing narratives of the city: that it’s completely falling apart! That it’s being saved by urban farming! That it’s still lived in and loved by lifelong residents! That it’s being gentrified and capitalized on in the name of urban farming!
And I suppose all these thing are true.
There is undoubtedly some amazing organizing being done in Detroit, at places like the Boggs Center and the D-Town Farm (run by the Detroit Black Community Food Network). And I think it is a place that the rest of us should be looking to to see how the destructive patterns of gentrification can be disrupted or mitigated. But not voyeuristically or with the weight of “the future of the entire country” (a phrase some friends seemed wary of hearing) resting on their shoulders. We all have to be responsible to our own communities. And if you do decide to move to Detroit I would advise spending a good amount of time listening to those who are already there. We could probably all do that more, wherever we call home.
(The photo is from Recycle Here!, a recycling center that was started as a private project and is now funded by the city. Stephanie and I learned all about different kinds of plastic there.)