Detroit is a sea of vacant blocks, abandoned factories, dilapidated houses, and boarded-up businesses.
The Motor City’s population peaked at 2 million during its boom days in the 1950s. It’s now 900,000 and falling. The city has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. 47% of its residents are functionally illiterate. And its violent crime rate of 1,220 violent crimes committed per 100,000 people earns it the top spot on Forbes.com’s list of most dangerous cities.
But Matt Allen, a business man and Senior Vice President of Hantz Farms, thinks all those vacant acres in Detroit’s core can be used to transform the city. And he doesn’t want to put in fancy developments or build malls. He wants to tear up the concrete and create the “world’s largest urban farm”.
Allen envisions “a year-round operation, providing spring vegetables, a bounty of summer produce, pick-your-own pumpkins and Christmas trees.” He argues that his plan will create hundreds of green jobs; provide Detroiters with a supply of fresh, local produce; and create a cleaner, greener environment for Detroit’s children.