Pingree Farms, situated on the southwest corner of I-75 and 7 Mile Road, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to neighborhood revitalization and youth education through urban agriculture. It seeks to turn vacant and blighted land into an urban food oasis while providing meaningful educational opportunities for Detroit’s young people.
The vision for Pingree Farms Foundation is to expand to become the center of youth agriculture education while providing healthy food options. Urban agricultural is not going to save Detroit, but the people that are stimulated by it and educated from it will.
In 2010, a run down neighborhood in Detroit began showing signs of new life, but not the kind you might think. Rather than houses being refurbished or businesses moving in, the activity was of a different sort. Jim and Shelly Green, owners of Milton Manufacturing, had wondered if the mostly abandoned, dilapidated neighborhood around their factory could be put to better use so they began tearing down the burnt-out houses and replacing them with rows and rows of crops. Tomatoes, squash, corn, cucumbers, eggplant… thousands of seedlings went into the ground with the help of a handful of volunteers. In the fall, people from the neighborhood were invited to come help themselves to the fresh produce and enjoy the beauty of this urban farm.
Each year since, the area of land that is being farmed has grown. Honey bees were added along an area to house farm animals which has since become a Certified Petting Zoo. Each spring a group of 60+ volunteers joins the Green family, factory workers and neighborhood residents in planting thousands of plants that grow to yield fresh food for the surrounding neighborhood. Pingree has also worked with 4-H and the Detroit Public Schools to develop programs for learning about caring for animals, growing food and envisioning a better world.
In 2015, the Pingree Foundation was granted 501(c)(3) status and officially opened it’s doors. We began working with the Educational Achievement Authority to create programs for Detroit middle school students and 4-H to create opportunities for city kids to learn animal husbandry, learning about and caring for rabbits, goats, sheep, chickens, turkey, miniature cows, pigs and ponies. Some of the kids have gone on to show the animals at the local County Fairs and have won many ribbons and trophies.
Pingree Farms continues to grow in many ways and looks forward to working with the people and businesses in the Detroit Metro area to create community and abundance.