Office workers in downtown Detroit have something new to look at on their lunch hours.
Where the Lafayette Building once stood, vacant and slowly crumbling, a large garden now grows. And this isn't just your typical urban landscaping job. You won't find any carpet roses or 'Stella d'Oro' daylilies here. This is an edible landscape, planted by master gardeners and other volunteers. Greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other veggies, along with a few apple trees, grace the lot where the old building once stood. The garden provides not only all-important urban green space, but food for the local food bank as well.The garden, Lafayette Greens, was the brainchild of Compuware founder Peter Karmanos. The land belongs to the city of Detroit, and they have rented the land to Compuware to use for the 1/2 acre garden.
The garden provides opportunities for people to volunteer, and those who volunteer can take some of the bounty home with them. The rest of the harvest will be donated to Detroit's Gleaners Food Bank. According to garden manager Meg Heeres, in an interview with Model D, "Our CEO [Karmanos] thought that it was an important part of getting our employees more involved in the community where they work."
I really, really love the design of the organic garden. Compuware worked closely with a landscape architect on the design, which is comprised of several raised beds, constructed with galvanized sheeting. Long beds of lavender flank the central promenade, providing fragrance and attracting pollinators. A children's garden, complete with colorful planters and a children's art gallery wall, takes up one corner of the garden. An orchard, rainwater cistern, tool shed, and an open seating area for special events complete the garden.
Kudos to both Compuware and the city of Detroit for having the foresight to not just invest in an urban green space, but one that will provide fresh, organic food for families in need as well.
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Chicago Combats Food Deserts and Childhood Obesity One Seed at a Time