Friday, March 25, 2016

Urban Agriculture: The Farming of Today

The American landscape is changing - literally. Streets once filled with beeping horns and the whirr
of passing cars can now be found empty, housing farm equipment. Vacant houses are now functioning as hoop houses. The popularity of Urban Agriculture, or Urban Farming, is growing in response to nearly 86% of consumers preferring LOCALLY grown food. On average, food travels about 1,500 miles to reach most major retailers, a stark contrast to years ago when food was grown close to where it was consumed. Slowly, we are reverting back to this trend.

Leading the Movement
The charge for Urban Agriculture is being led by the “consumer”, or the end user who is demanding fresh, local produce. But they aren’t the only ones! Support from local institutions such as hospitals, schools, and local retail outlets are requesting local goods.

Urban Agriculture in Detroit
The shift toward Urban Farming proves true in southeast Michigan. According to inhabitat.com, Detroit is ranked as the 5th Top Urban Farming City in the United States. In 2013, Detroit adopted its first urban agriculture zoning ordinance, which defined farm stands, greenhouses, hoop houses, urban farms, orchards and gardens. Consumers are clearly taking more pride and a greater interest in what they are eating and where it is coming from. Within the city of Detroit, more than 1,400 community gardens providing fresh produce to local outlets exist.

RecoveryPark Aims to Deliver
RecoveryPark, an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2010, has set out to fill the demand of Detroit consumers. RecoveryPark intends to grow a “highly curated variety of vegetables, leafy greens and herbs” with a focus on supplying independent, chef-driven restaurants. Set within the city limits of Detroit, RecoveryPark plans to transform vacant land and help revitalize communities. They will utilize several agricultural techniques ranging from high tunnel and traditional greenhouses to soil-based growing systems and hydroponics. Restaurants seeking fresh, locally grown produce can have it delivered by members of the community. Quality jobs for those encountering barriers to traditional employment will also be a focus.

Urban Agriculture & MMTC
What does Henry Ford’s assembly line and Toyota’s efficiency practices have to do with growing produce? RecoveryPark’s Farm Manager sought out MMTC’s LEAN Manufacturing Champion to utilize LEAN principles throughout the development process and setup of the establishment itself. These guiding principles will help determine the most effective and efficient work methods on the farm. Regardless of your industry, MMTC has a program that can help. We literally have farm to fork solutions. Call MMTC today at 888.414.6682 and learn how we can become YOUR trusted advisor.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.

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