Detroit’s Urban Farming Initiative Is Helping To Feed The Poor

Change is common in the city of Detroit. The city witnesses harsh winters and warm summers and change has been prevalent in the auto industry during the 20th century. Auto manufacturers became a large part of the city, creating numerous jobs. However, over time, cracks appeared in both the economy and culture of the city, leading to the number of residents decreasing by about half from 1950 to 2000. This was further compounded by the GFC, when unemployment levels increased to 28.4 percent in 2009.

Lately, this American underdog has been engaging in initiatives that indicate a robust comeback. The current unemployment level currently stands at 10.2 percent. The growth efforts of the city have been greatly boosted by tech-startups as they have been able to create approximately 171,000 jobs since 2013.

A partnership between Sustainable Brands, BASF and the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative has created an agrihood project in Detroit’s North End neighborhood. The urban farm won the top prize in a University of Michigan innovation challenge. Tony Gersh, university student and Founder of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative stated that the goal of the partnership is not just to feed individuals through the use of vacant land, but to come up with new ideas about how urban spaces can be improved and developed. Since the inception of the initiative, volunteers from all over the world have given approximately 50,000 hours of their time, translating to 50,000 pounds of organic produce. This produce is then given to the neighborhood, food pantries, churches and more.

Innovative university startups are on the rise all over the country. Many sustainable products and services are being developed by students to help improve the quality of life for disadvantaged groups. Startups carrying out research and development to create a new or improved product or service can benefit from the R&D Tax Credit. For the first three years of R&D claims, companies receive a gross credit equal to 6 percent of the total qualified research expenses.

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