The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) was formed in February 2006 to address food insecurity in Detroit’s Black community and to organize members of that community to play a more active leadership role in the local food security movement. We observed that many of the key players in the local urban agriculture movement were young whites, who while well-intentioned, never-the-less, exerted a degree of control inordinate to their numbers in Detroit’s population. Many of those individuals moved to Detroit from other places specifically to engage in agricultural or other food security work. It was and is our view that the most effective movements grow organically from the people whom they are designed to serve. Representatives of Detroit’s majority African-American population must be in the leadership of efforts to foster food justice and food security in Detroit. While our specific focus is on Detroit’s African-American community, we realize that improved policy and an improved localized food system is a benefit to all Detroit residents.
DBCFSN is creating model urban agricultural projects that seek to build community self-reliance and to change our consciousness about food. In 2006 we planted and maintained a ¼ acre garden near the 4-H Community Center on McClellan near Gratiot on Detroit’s east side. In 2007 we partnered with the Shrine of the Black Madonna to plant and maintain a ¾ acre mini-farm near Broadstreet and Collingwood. Since 2008 D-Town Farm has operated inside of the City of Detroit’s Rouge Park. We currently occupy seven acres where we grow more than 30 different fruits and vegetables, practice season extension with three hoop houses, do large-scale composting, keep bees, have a rainwater retention pond and a solar energy station. We give farm tours to community, church and school groups.