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Creating an Edible Urban Forest in Detroit (NA-99-0416)

Grant Number

This program was to establish a diverse, mixed edible urban forest on vacant lots in Detroit. The forest is to be planted, maintained and utilized by the surrounding community for its social, nutritional and economic benefit.

Urban edible forests have been now established at five sites in Detroit: (1)Catherine Ferguson Academy, (2) East Grand Community Park and Garden(Genesis Lutheran Church), (3) North Woodward Empowerment Center (4) God's Little Acre (Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church) and (5) Holbrook Elementary School.

At God's Little Acre all but two trees were destroyed by a developer building new housing on adjacent land. The "Greening of Detroit" — a local non-profit agency that plants trees to replace some of those lost in Detroit during recent years-found a new home for the trees that were not destroyed. The other trees will not be replaced due to financial difficulties on the part of the developer.

The future of the East Grand Community Park and Garden project has been secured with the Helen Street Block Club's official adoption of the site. Thus, the program seems to have recovered from the death, last year, of its founder and coordinator, Gerald Hairston.

At Catherine Ferguson Academy, the recently planted peach, plum and pear trees appear to be healthy. The mature apple trees cared for under the grant yielded a bountiful harvest during the fall of 2001. Although the cold spring appears to have damaged some of the blossoms this year, we will have enough apples to once again make apple sauce and cider with school students this fall. Construction on the agriscience teaching facility at Catherine Ferguson is nearly complete. This will allow even more hands-on activities to take place at the site throughout the year.

At the North Woodward Empowerment Center, volunteers continue to weed and water the approximately 80 Christmas tree seedlings that were transplanted there during the spring of 2001.

Finally, the garden at Holbrook Elementary School has been adopted by a group of University of Michigan Students who continue to work with youth growing vegetables and tending the perimeter planting of Choke Cherries, Dogwoods, Butterfly Bushes and Arbor Vitae. The garden has become a key gathering place for parents and their children. The U-M students are also tutoring youth in the garden this summer. For more in-depth information on any of these projects a project manual has now been completed and is available from the office of the principal investigator.

Guthrie, Tom
Michigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems
P.O. Box 4903
East Lansing, MI 48826-4903
Total Project Cost
$ 108,850
Federal Share
$ 53,200
Grantee Share
$ 55,650
Year of Award
Year of Expiration
FS Manager
Phil Rodbell
USDA Forest Service - NA
11 Campus Blvd, Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4133
Grant Categories
Creative and Innovative Projects
Food (Local/Regional), U&CF Program Development
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