Detroit Heirloom Conservatory
About the Project
The Detroit Heirloom Conservatory is located in the middle of five vacant lots on the corner of Harrison and Pine Streets in North Corktown, Detroit, Michigan. It is located on the first block north of Interstate-75 which bisects the Corktown neighborhood separating the rapidly redeveloping south side of the neighborhood from the North. Currently, we are building the infrastructure for our project by excavating a small amphitheater, building a retaining wall, installing an integrated water catchment system and creating planting beds. At present we have completed 80% of excavations for the amphitheater, installed brick paths, built a low entrance wall, created visible signage, and began an apiary (bee cultivation). While we have made much progress on developing the site since acquiring it in November 2011, there is still a significant amount of work to be done before we are operational as a garden and as an educational and community programming space.
The Detroit Heirloom Conservatory (DHC) is a dynamic urban garden and community building project where we will grow heirloom foodstuffs and host educational programming for urban farmers and novice growers, while also creating an inviting space for residents of our neighborhood. At the root of the DHC mission is the desire to empower people through food production; we see heirloom cultivation as logical progression towards broader agricultural policy goals including sustainability and local identity. We have designed our garden as a multi-use space that goes beyond food cultivation. We plan to host a variety of educational programs about seed cultivation and preservation, as well as offer rare seedlings, produce and seeds at a small vegetable stand. Our unique garden design will have a small amphitheater where we will hold our programming as well as community events. We plan to work with existing organizations in Southwest Detroit to plan a number of events in the spring, summer and fall of 2012 (and beyond). These will include theater performances, music, poetry readings and community meetings or gatherings.
It is our goal to be positive, productive and courteous neighbors in the North Corktown neighborhood, and we are confident that our project will contribute substantively to the quality of life of many neighborhood residents. With our project we plan to provide a much-needed space in our community where events can take place to draw people together, creating cohesion between residents and local entities helping to galvanize the neighborhood. With eight gardens in the neighborhood, it is our hope that over the next several years North Corktown will begin to derive its identity from the many garden projects in the neighborhood. Situated in an urban agriculture hub of a city lauded internationally for its urban agriculture movement, we feel we are ideally suited to leverage this trend by providing opportunities for community building through volunteerism. We also have room to expand our operations by acquiring surrounding properties.Detroit Heirloom Conservatory
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