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Why This Matters: Detroit is experiencing an agricultural revolution, and this study is one important piece in the puzzle. The city is working to develop “agrihoods,” or agricultural neighborhoods, and to plant green roofs. But to achieve true local food sovereignty, healthy urban soil is needed. By determining how to recondition urban soil, denizens of Detroit and other cities can have more and better access to food. And beyond farming, the implications are huge: cover cropping, according to Edwards, could help sequester storm-water that catalyzes flooding in the city, as well as potentially reduce asthma- and allergy-inducing weed species.
As study director Naim Edwards told Civil Eats, “Almost all farmers are paying lots of money for composts.” Longer running farms are even “noticing imbalances in their soil and nutrients because of this practice of simply laying on a compost every year.” Cover crops on urban farms could potentially help remedy this problem. The study is currently searching for the optimal mixture of cover crops to help improve Detroit’s soil.
Fighting Food Insecurity
The pandemic, as Civil Eats noted, has hit Detroit hard. As Planet Detroit put it, the pandemic has revealed “issues with local food supply chains — like how much of it caters to restaurants and wholesalers instead of residents.” This means, according to Ashley Atkinson, the co-director of Keep Growing Detroit, that plant gardens will be “more critical for Detroiters this year than ever before.” Within the city of Detroit, there are approximately 1,400 community gardens and farms, and one officially designated agrihood, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), which was founded in 2012 and calls itself America’s First Sustainable Urban Agrihood. While urban gardens are not necessarily a panacea to the structural problems with our food system, healthy soil means potentially greater access to healthy food, an important step on the way to food sovereignty. And what they are learning in Detroit can easily be taken up in other cities as well.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A new analysis from the World Wildlife Fund lays out a plan to use the existing logistical infrastructure of the United States Postal Service to distribute millions of tons of food from farmers directly to consumers. Each year, an estimated 17 million tons of crops never leave the farm, despite millions of Americans living in […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While humans have been domesticating crops for the past 10,000 years, we also need wild variants of the crops we cultivate as they have traits that make them more resistant to disease and resilient to environmental changes. We can breed these traits into our domesticated crops. But a new […]
The case of the caviar cover-up! Wisconsin’s top expert on sturgeon fish — dubbed the “sturgeon general” — was charged with obstructing an investigation into an illicit caviar ring — he and fellow biologists at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are alleged to have funneled fish eggs to a network of caviar processors. […]
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