After 5 years of discussion, Governor Rick Snyder has approved the sale of close to 150 acres of urban land in Detroit. The 1,500 parcels of land, comprised of a vast inventory of vacant lots, will be transformed into what the new owners say will become the world’s largest urban farm.
The land has been bought by a private business called Hantz Woodlands, headed by John Hantz, for around $500,000. At $3,333 per acre, this would be considered a steal in many cities. Indeed, during the sale process there was a good deal of controversy centered around the issue of a company buying-up such a large area of land in urban Detroit for not a lot of money. The company says it plans to invest a further $3 million in the land over the next 3 years, according to MLive. There is also an option to purchase 180 more acres in 2 years, if approved by the city at that time.
The deal requires that the company maintains the land, clears it of all trash, and razes 50 (presumably uninhabited) homes. Hantz Woodlands is reportedly planning to plant hardwood trees on the land. The company originally planned to plant fruit trees as well, but food production rules and neighbourhood concerns about rodents meant that hardwood trees were eventually chosen for their timber potential.
What do you think about turning large areas of Detroit’s urban land into a large urban farm?