Source: Black Agenda Report
D-Town: African American Farmers, Food Security and Detroit“Detroit is the future for urban agriculture.”
by Monica M. White, Ph.D.
The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), started in 2006, is a non-profit grassroots community organization spearheaded by Malik Yakini, a long-time Black liberation activist, bookstore owner, and school administrator. Mr. Yakini called together a group of people who were interested in engaging in urban agriculture to “grasp larger control over the food system and to build self-reliance in our community” (personal communication). Organizationally, they wanted to address Detroit’s food insecurity on four levels; to create a city-wide food policy, to develop a food buying co op, to engage in youth education and to establish an urban farm. Since its inception, DBCFSN was instrumental in engineering a comprehensive food-security policy that would provide citizens with an “adequate amount of nutritious, culturally appropriate food at all times, from sources that are environmentally sound and just” (p.1). Not only was the food policy unanimously adopted by the Detroit City Council, they also agreed to create the Detroit Food Policy Council. They operate the U-Ujamaa Food Buying Co-op where members are able to purchase healthy foods, supplements and household items at discount prices. In addition, D-Town farm, developed as a critical project and began in the planting season of 2006, is located on two acres of city-owned land in Rouge Park, with the expansion of an additional five acres yet to be approved. D-Town farm “utilizes sustainable, earth-friendly food production techniques to produce thousands of pounds of high quality, fresh produce each year.”
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