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ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS & CASE STUDIES: D-Town Farm: African American Resistance to Food Insecurity and the Transformation of Detroit

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2011

Monica M. White*
Affiliation:
PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
*
Monica M. White, Department of Sociology, Wayne State University, 2257 Faculty Administration Building, Detroit, MI 48202; (phone) 313-577-2930; (fax) 313-577-2735; (e-mail) mowhite.sociology@gmail.com
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Abstract

This article analyzes community building and political agency through an investigation of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN). By using farming as a strategy of resistance against the structural factors that have left much of Detroit in a condition of food insecurity, DBCFSN not only meets citizens' needs for fresh produce, but also builds community by transforming the social, economic, and physical environment. In so doing, it creates new community spaces on vacant land. DBCFSN uses the farm (a) as a community center, (b) as a means to articulate culturally relevant language about healthy food and healthy lifestyles, and (c) as a tangible model of collective work, self-reliance, and political agency. These farmers adopt a community-based model for increasing access to healthy food for the mostly African American citizens of Detroit. By focusing on improving the daily existence of citizens rather than mobilizing against the power structures, D-Town, a seven-acre model urban farm project of DBCFSN, activists participate in the revival of a city mired in racism and poverty, and all but abandoned by politicians, the automobile industry, and the merchants and supermarkets who once served Detroit's residents.

Environmental Practice 13:406–417 (2011)

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Features
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Copyright © National Association of Environmental Professionals 2011

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ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS & CASE STUDIES: D-Town Farm: African American Resistance to Food Insecurity and the Transformation of Detroit
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