Michigan State U Pitches Urban Farm Plan In Detroit

Ann McClure's picture

Michigan State University is pitching a $100 million plan to Detroit leaders to transform blighted land, abandoned structures and vacant parking lots into an urban farm and research hub.

The idea could make Detroit into a global model for growing food and energy crops in once unthinkable urban settings — inside desolate buildings, on contaminated soil and between concrete slabs of shopping center lots. The technology MSU researchers hope to cultivate by growing crops here with limited energy and water could be a model exported to dense cities across the world struggling with food production, according to the university.

The city's blight is a "liability that could be used as an asset," said Rick Foster, director of MSU's Greening Michigan Institute, who has been designing the plan he estimates could cost the university $100 million over time.

"Detroit is really a phenomenal asset when you think about it that way."

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