One person's thoughts may change the world
In Detroit, a new phenomenon is occurring. Amongst all the school closings, poor graduation rates, abandoned homes, closed factories, foreclosure through the roof, crime, there is an industry that is a throwback to the old days, when ya’ll was digging and shuckin’ in the old south. Sharecropping. Ooops, I mean urban farming. It seems the mayor of Detroit ( Basketball hall of fame Dave Bing ), has a strong interest in this idea, even to the tune of using eminent domain in order to move people in isolated areas in the city and create broad areas of land to start urban farming. There is even an investor located in Grosse Pointe,Michigan ( old money area near Detroit ) who is willing to invest up to 30 million dollars provided the city give him tax breaks to start his sharecropping, I mean urban farming business.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating, Detroit, as well as the state of Michigan needs alternative ways to generate new business. There has already been given huge tax breaks to Hollywood media companies to draw the industry to film and set up shop in this area. There is a solar initiative going on in the old Ford Wixom plant. But, this urban farming thing is interesting because I don’t see how it’s going to work out for the people who will be working there. The United State already over produces food by a rate so large that the government pays large multinational corporation who run these facilities ( formerly know as farms ), not to grow on them.
So, the idea of urban farming, and someone will have to work the fields to make it work, will be a very interesting process. Who will work the field? The inner city folks who are currently unemployed? Hmmmmm, I see that to be a very low number of people. Here’s why: The normalization of ignorance. People don’t know, and don’t care that they don’t know. Would you rather have a meager existence and watch TV or working the fields for food for the community? With the graduation rate at 30% in the city of Detroit, I would assume watching TV would be the preferred option.
All of Detroit doesn’t suffer from poor education, but a lot of it does, and it’s the dominant effect on why thing are so wrong here. I talked to an urban planner who did his PhD at the university of Rutgers and he made an interesting observation about Detroit with a fresh pair of eyes. “Without decent public transportation and a strong education opportunity, Detroit will never be able to compete”.
Recently China has put together an initiative to invest more in their education system. In the article, there was a concern that this will put more pressure on the US education system, which outspends China in education at least 5 to 1. So why are the Chinese kicking our butts, and coming off the farm and into urban areas to get a better life? Dang, aren’t we going backwards on this urban farming thing? Shouldn’t we just finally say, “enough is enough and lets shore up this educational system for everyone so we can be the country we can really be?”.
Getting back to the urban farming thing, I’m assuming to get a piece of the pie, you’re going to have to set up a sharecropping system, so that people can benefit or have a piece of the pie. Hmmm, back in the day, the owner was the main benefactor and the sharecropper usually ended up owing the owner, which created a similar system of you know what: slavery.
Welcome to the 21st century Detroit, which was once called by President Truman, “The arsenal of Democracy”. ….