Day 150: Motor City Seedlings

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May 29, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

You’ve probably heard a lot about Detroit.  You’ve probably heard about the blight and the urban decay, the ruins, the diminishing population, the corruption and the industrial rot.  You might think you know Detroit pretty well.  I did.  The truth is that it’s not a city without its bruises  – it’s got more than enough of those to go around.  The truth is that there is blight, and there is corruptions, and there are systemic problems with the city that unless addressed with radical action might not heal the city’s open wounds.  But the truth is also that there are thousands of brave and inspired people determined to make Detroit a city glow again, to show the world that a bold city can recover and and thrive.  These people are proud to call themselves Detroiters because they believe in a strong and beautiful place to grow up, to learn, to work, to build, to imagine and do – to live and call home.  With that vision, these people are taking action however they can to see their city heal and rise again to its feet.  Today’s project is about some of these people, who’re digging in to sprout new hope for Detroit.

Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms is a story about two little patches of Detroit dirt.  Tilled and tended as areas to for growth – both mental and botanical, these two gardens will serve as classrooms for young Detroiters who will know their city as fertile ground for growth and beauty.

The Kid’s Garden is a four-year-old vegetable garden KT Andresky started with the help of the Hamtramck Recreation Center and the youth at the Colonial Housing Projects. The Kid’s Garden is tucked away on the far end of the playground inside the housing projects on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck. Here many residents enroll their kids ages 6-14 in spring and summer gardening and art classes taught by KT. Weekly lessons focus on youth relationships with art and fresh food while creatively cultivating the playground.

“Made in Detroit” isn’t a label you’re likely to see displayed prominently on much of anything these days, but for these kids and thousands of others, it’s a label that can be worn proudly.  I know Detroit’s undeniable damage; I know its scrapes and its bruises; I know, too, though, Detroit’s resilient people, and I believe in what they can accomplish.  I hope they’ll continue their work, undeterred by uphill battles and unflattering headlines.  I hope you’ll join me in getting behind them by backing these seedlings of Detroit on Kickstarter before June 10.


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