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Cadillac Urban Gardens on Merritt

Detroit

Hero Story

Cadillac Urban Gardens (CUGM) is a one-acre urban garden located in Mexicantown, Southwest Detroit on the former grounds of the Cadillac Clark Street Plant’s Executive parking lot. Since 2012, CUGM has provided a space for community members to come together to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, promote food sovereignty, and beautify their neighborhood through place-based intergenerational learning. In turn, the garden provides food security for residents with little access to garden space and or fresh produce, and has become a model for sustainable gardening practices as residents grow and harvest produce within walking distance of their homes.

CUGM not only helps create a system of equitable access and availability of culturally relevant food across Southwest Detroit, but develops the tools needed for residents young and old to become leaders within their own communities. CUGM doesn’t just grow produce, but leaders and environmental stewards who have already begun to enact change regarding food access and health across Southwest Detroit. Southwest Detroit residents were hit quite hard by COVID-19 as residents have not only been laid off, but are unable to travel long distances to large chain grocery stores due to their location in the suburbs of Detroit. As a result of this, countless families have become food insecure.

Currently, Southwest Detroit is home to 43,902 residents where more than half (52.7%) of the current population are Latinx. Additionally, there are over 60,000 undocumented individuals within the Detroit and Dearborn areas where residents who fall into this category often do not like to travel far or prefer to stay close to home to gather needed materials, thus making Cadillac Urban Gardens the ideal pickup spot for residents of Southwest Detroit who are in need of fresh produce, but are unable to or do not feel comfortable traveling far. Currently, CUGM relies on a dedicated team of 5 to manage and maintain the garden where between the 2020-2021 growing seasons have given away over 4 tons of free produce to over 800 families and individuals.

CUGM provides a space for community members to come together to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, promote food sovereignty, and beautify their neighborhood through place-based intergenerational learning. In turn, the garden provides food security for residents with little access to garden space and or fresh produce and has become a model for sustainable gardening practices as residents grow and harvest produce within walking distance of their homes. CUGM not only helps create a system of equitable access and availability of culturally relevant food across Southwest Detroit, but develops the tools needed for residents young and old to become leaders within their own communities. Here at CUGM, we don’t just grow produce, but leaders and environmental stewards who have already begun to enact change regarding food access and health across Southwest Detroit.

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