“Truly, to restore the earth we must restore ourselves. The inner and the outer worlds are inseparable. They must be harmonious.” Albert Schweitzer
The Garden Detroit is a Michigan community-based nonprofit organization, which has as its mission to transform vacant land into beautiful and productive landscapes. What we mean by “beautiful” is to create attractive and well-maintained park-like landscapes where a variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables and herbs are grown. And what we mean by “productive” is to grow some cash crops to market and create jobs. While The Garden Detroit also aims to eventually develop local food systems where people will have access to healthy and affordable organic produce, here we will focus on our Detroit Abloom land-use model and the benefits of cut flower farming.
Neighborhood Stabilization Impact: Considering the need for good jobs, the abundant blighted vacant land in our neighborhoods and the market potential of locally grown flowers to positively impact the economics, social dynamics and environment of the community, it makes sense that a community-operated cut flower business can be an excellent way to help revitalize a neighborhood.
By transforming blighted land into beautiful and productive landscapes, not only do we bust blight, we simultaneously create places of sanctuary that can draw the community together. We aim to create sanctuary gardens where people can take pause to appreciate the beauty of nature and enrich their souls. Replacing blighted lots with beauty and providing the opportunity for residents to engage cohesively in meaningful work, can potentially benefit everyone.
Community Impact: Detroit Abloom is a cut flower business that holds sustainability – economic, environmental and social – as long-term goals of the community. We invite everyone into a discussion of how we can build a cut flower business that can benefit the community in every way possible. An expert says, “The social impact of gardens can be particularly pronounced when blighted lots requiring city maintenance are transformed into places of beauty that foster safe places for neighborhood interaction, decision-making, problem-solving, creativity and celebration.”
Our recently installed hoop house at 305 Newport is an outdoor classroom where we regularly offer gardening workshops and tours. People are also welcome to make arrangements with us to use the hoop house to germinate their seedlings and over-winter their dahlia tubers in our underground root cellar.
Looking towards the future, one core goal of Detroit Abloom is to educate and inspire young people about local flower production, marketing, community leadership and environmental stewardship by involving them in all aspects of the flower business.
Economic Impact: Jobs are the bottom line in rescuing the local economy and when they literally sprout up from the Earth, it keeps people rooted to their community. Last year we created several full and part-time seasonal jobs and this year at least two more. By buying bouquets, value-added products, and services from Detroit Abloom, you help to provide revenue for us to build infrastructure, cover operational expenses and create jobs. We envision that by working together as a community, Detroit Abloom cut flower farms, blight removal and job creation can grow exponentially.
Environmental Impact: Everything about Detroit Abloom benefits the environment. We are 100% organic, meaning that we do not use synthetic chemicals that contaminate the land and our bodies. Essentially, Detroit Abloom is an outdoor classroom of innovative ways to grow flower crops, manage storm water, nurture the honey bee population, use native plants, improve biodiversity, recycle organic matter and much more.
Spiritual Impact: Our worldly activities, whether we realize it or not, must find balance with nature. Pure and simple, this much-needed balance is an issue of survival for our spirits. Detroit Abloom cut flower farming will provide sanctuary by designing landscapes that satisfy our soul’s attraction to beauty, peace, solace and celebration. In this way, cut flower farming can serve the higher needs of our community by providing peaceful settings for people of all ages to relax, unwind, reflect and restore themselves. Detroit Abloom gardens will be places where people can stop worrying, observe nature and learn from it, awaken one’s mind and senses and live in the present moment.