"Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else."
Leonardo da Vinci
Detroit Abloom is a nonprofit organization that has as its main purpose to transform vacant blighted land into beautiful and productive landscapes. Detroit contains about 23 square miles of vacant land that needs repurposing. That land equals around 147,200 lots. Our long-term goal is to work with other organizations throughout Detroit to transform at least 1% of this vacant land, or 1,472 lots, into cut flower farms and sanctuary gardens.
All our work is done as naturally as possible, keeping nature's intentions in mind. During our seven seasons of growing vegetables, herbs and flowers, we have come to understand the importance of having plenty of natural diversity. We love native plants for their beauty, health-giving properties and for their ability to attract pollinating insects to our gardens. For example, the different shapes and colors of the Cup Plants, Monarda, Yarrow, Anise Hyssop, Penstemon, Echincea and Liatris draw honey bees, native bees, syrphid flies and butterflies, just to name a few. Our gardens are surrounded by Goldenrod, Mugwort (Artemesia), and Milkweed, all of which provide natural habitat for wildlife, especially host-specific insects. In addition, we have dozens of fruit trees and all kinds of culinary and medicinal herbs that provide a haven for all kinds of insects.
We do not use any insecticides or synthetic fertilizers. Having come to appreciate that the soil is a living medium teeming with life, we do not even till our soil. Instead, we use a no-till method by building our new garden beds on top of cardboard, which we then layer with different kinds of organic materials such as leaf mulch, straw, grass clippings, kitchen scraps and top with around six inches of good-quality compost so we can immediately direct sow seeds or transplant seedlings. We continually fortify our existing beds with compost, kelp meal, azomite, greensand and organic chicken and horse manure.
We are constantly improving our processes to be sustainable from seed to flower. We start the majority of our own seedlings in our hoop house and purchase good quality organic seeds from sustainable companies. We use the soil-block method to start our seedlings, rather than using plastic seed trays. This method is not only better for our environment, but it also allows us to grow very healthy seedlings which are less likely to be eaten by insects.
All in all, we do our best to live in accordance with the God-given laws of nature and express thanks to our Creator in every way we can.