WMEAC Film Series: Urban Roots

Recently presented by WMEAC on Tuesday February 5th 2013 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Urban Roots, directed by Mark MacInnis and produced by Leila Conners and Mathew Schmid, explores Detroit as a post-industrial city struggling to maintain businesses and a working population. Detroit is a notoriously large food desert. This means there aren’t grocery stores that sell fresh and affordable produce in an area accessible to individuals who live in the city and may not have transportation to the locations where fresh produce is sold. Urban farming not only provides a way for individuals to escape food deserts but also utilizes vacant parcels of land which revitalizes neighborhoods and gives purpose to land that would otherwise be overgrown with weeds or become a trash dump.

Several communities and individuals in Detroit benefit from urban farming on these vacant parcels of land. Some of the farms followed in the documentary are Urban Roots, Earthworks and Brother Nature. Individuals who work in community gardens say they enjoy the work because it brings the community together, creating something sustainable, giving many peace of mind as well as a sense of responsibility and pride in growing their own food. Many farms not only involve individuals in the community but also local businesses by selling their produce to these businesses. The diversity of the crops grown on urban farms in Michigan is wide in variety, anything from garlic to eggplant. This provides many options and food diversity to individuals who participate in gardening or buy produce from these farms.

Urban Roots displays the determination of the citizens of Detroit. Individuals who garden are still rebuilding their livelihoods and city, while creating a new, more sustainable way of life. Urban farming is a positive aspect of the reinvention of Detroit as a city and community and should be considered an important piece of any urban center.

Learn more about Urban Roots:

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