Local Detroit resident, John Hanz, has prosed $2 million dollar urban farming initiative in Detroit. Hanz claims his project is to “reinvigorate Detroit’s blight filled neighborhoods and stimulate its economy”. Watch his advertisement for the Hanz Farms project.
People are humming about the benefits of community gardens, such as green spaces, community-building, and fresh produce. But reading up on the potential pros and cons of Hanz Farms, do you think Hanz’s goal aligns with community gardens or to buy up large amounts of cheap land? Hanz is a former American Express stockbroker, with a net worth of over 100 million dollars. His project’s officials acknowledge their self-funded venture would create minimal short term jobs and only modest revenue for Detroit.
Even Rick Foster, professor in the College of Agriculture at Michigan State University, said that Hanz “was a little naive about what farming really was and what it could be.” Should it be a red flag that some of the most influential advocates of Detroit’s urban farming scene are not in support of Hanz’s project? Are the benefits of this project really about the farm itself, or it’s effort to alleviate Detroit of the economic burden and liability of vacant land.