Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nature Takes Back Detroit

While awake in the very early Monday morning, the early hour that still clung to Sunday evening, I heard a great interview on BBC radio with James Griffioen the creative mind and gifted writer behind sweet juniper!.

Detroiter James Griffioen walks the abandoned mansion neighborhood of Brush Park in Detroit and shares a different take on the familiar story of neglect and blight in Detroit. He found in his adventures away from the populated areas, much of the city isn't dangerous, it's just empty. He talks about the walks he takes with his kids in search of pheasants and playing on 1960/1970s era "great pre-lawyer vetted playground equipment".

When BBC interview Michael Frei bemoaned the fact that much of Detroit is being turned into arable land for farming, Griffioen responded, "It's fabulous...Alot of the 20th Century wasn't a sustainable way of life...Detroiters are learning to live in a more sustainable way."

Big box stores and chains are not in the city. Instead of the movement to grow your own crops being a trend, "It's something that happened here by necessity...People are seeing opportunity and not just blight and ugliness. "

Hear the entire story at the BBC website, click on James Griffioen and Detroit (Chapter 2). Don't be thwarted by the long introduction talking about Afghanistan, it's really an interview with Griffioen. Visit Griffioen's post about Feral Houses at sweet juniper!.


  1. Pretty amazing! Here's an article on Detroit urban farming: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2008/12/11/gms-bust-turns-detroit-into-urban-prairie-of-vacant-lot-farms/.

    And www.marchandmeffre.com. This site has some amazing pictures of the Ruins of Detroit, including crumbling mansions sitting in the midst of acres of empty lots.


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