DETROIT - Over the past several years, much discussion has been generated and is growing relative to the industry known as urban agriculture or urban farming. As you travel around Detroit, you are beginning to see signs of urban farming sprouting up. In the forefront of this endeavor is Terrence M. Hicks, Project Director for the Fair Food Network. This non-profit organization has developed a network of associations with other like-minded groups and individuals who are delving into this up-and-coming industry.
Terrence's background is in transportation but through a series of circumstances he was presented with the opportunity of venturing into this developing industry. He states that with Detroit going through a transition, particularly as it relates to land usage, there will be more and more "green space." Terrence smiles when he reflects that awhile back folks thought this was a joke -- farming in Detroit. But now there are serious efforts underway to expand this industry.
As I was preparing for taping WDIV's Making A Difference segment, that appears on the weekend news, I visited Terrence and a team of urban farmers at D Farms in Rouge Park. This is seven acres of land that folks work every day, growing and producing food. There are hot houses that allow production when the weather changes. Terrence, along with one of the production managers, Khadira Senneter, gave me a complete presentation on the preparation and use of compost, the substance used to fertilize the soil for growth preparation. This is just one of the many components of urban farming.
When you ask Terrence why he really switched careers to urban agriculture, he states, "This is a whole new industry that has so many possibilities for our youth. I want to take a message to them that there are tremendous opportunities for careers and entrepreneurship." He further explained that this is not just about the production of food, there are a whole host of support elements like urban planning, engineering, chemistry and horticulture. Plus, there are opportunities in business development like transportation, food distribution and marketing.
Terrence feels that he has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our youth who are looking for a career with great possibilities. He foresees classes on urban agriculture being taught in the public school system and community colleges. He wants to use his contacts and growing knowledge in such a way that he is able to touch those who are looking for a sense of direction and security because he believes urban farming is not going to do anything but grow.
Terrence M. Hicks is Making A Difference.
On a daily basis, in spite of one's life struggles and challenges, there are some people who reach out and make a positive impact on the lives of others. That is why Local 4 and a prominent local clergyman, Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr., have teamed up to find those people and tell their stories.
Do you know an everyday hero in your life? E-mail us and tell us about them.
About Rev. Lonnie Peek, Jr.
Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. located in Detroit in 1975. After teaching 2 years in DPS, he went to WSU receiving a Masters of Social Work, an activist on campus he created the Association of Black Students. He is an entrepreneur and serves on such civic boards as New Detroit, Inc, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. With extensive radio background expanding 25 years, he writes a weekly column for the Michigan Chronicle. He has been a regular on local/ national television shows dealing with political and social issues An ordained minister and seminary graduate, he serves on the executive committee and is the public relations chairman for the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and is Assistant Pastor at Greater Christ Baptist Church.
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