Urgent Support for Detroit’s urban gardeners needed

Reposted from Food First 

Hello all national justice friends and allies in food and climate!!

We are facing a situation here in Detroit which many of you are familiar with, the #landgrab!

Please express your support for Detroit grassroots community in the form of a phone call or e-mail to City Council members. Share your insight and expertise as to how similar instances have affected your community. We would really appreciate it!

We attended today’s (Nov. 8) City Council Meeting and the matter was “tabled until next week for council members to gain more insight”, but we recognize this as a band-aid. We need a public hearing on this matter and a community- based strategy based on the following points. Feel free to reference this letter and/or modify it to suit your heartfelt response. A letter with some main points follows and a list of contact information for Detroit City Council follows. Appreciate any and all support!!!

In solidarity!!
Lottie

Some background

Detroit: A Tale of Two Farms.

Big food and land grabbing.

A video response from the Justice Communicators Team

Below is a letter expressing concerns about the proposed Detroit City Council action which would allow for an urban land grab by Hantz Woodlands.

Dear Council Member,

Understanding that land is the base of all power, as a Citizen of Detroit, I am writing to request that the proposed sale of land to Hantz Woodlands be on hold until such a time that a public hearing can be convened for full disclosure of proposed plans and any alternative plans are revealed.

There is concern about the way in which the proposed Hantz Woodlands (formerly known as Hantz Farm) sale has been navigated and the general transparency of the process and its timing as related to the proposed Urban Ag Ordinance.

There is concern about setting a precedent that impedes our ability master plan and govern our 140 mile land footprint in the future. What is the process by which this came to be and is this, in fact ,the same process that a citizen would be able to use to purchase parcels of land, in the same time frame and for the same price?

Governance is the issue at the heart of this land sale. Where are the “plans”? The development folder at Planning and Development should be made public in order to ascertain the scope and plan of this project.

What are the direct community benefits to such a deal for residents? How does this acquisition of 2,000 parcels coincide with the plans for this neighborhood in 20/30/50 years going forward?

What is the environmental impact of the proposed project and its alternatives with regard to pesticide use, fertilization, soil and compost acquisition, etc.

What is the process for investing in and encouraging the stability and expansion of existing urban agricultural sites in the city? Now and when/if such a sale were to take place?

The residents of the City must play an active role in the transformation of their neighborhood and community. We need to make sure that the promise of folks being notified about the sale of adjacent land still exists, there is supposed to be first right of refusal for people within the footprint. The value of the land in large tracts actually has greater value than the selling price.

Concerned citizens are speaking up for a fair, just, transparent process for the sale of city-owned land. Wealthy developers should not be extended favor that is not shown to the average Detroiter. Please e-mail Detroit City Council members to express concerns about how this sweetheart purchase of such a large tract of urban land will affect the ability of Detroit’s citizens to grow their own food.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT CHARLES PUGH
313.224.4510 (office)
CouncilPresidentPugh@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER BRENDA JONES
(313) 224-1245 (office)
bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER SAUNTEEL JENKINS
(313) 224-4248 (office)
councilmemberjenkins@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER KENNETH V. COCKREL, JR
(313) 224-4505 (office)
E-mail: Kenneth.Cockrel@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER BRENDA JONES
(313) 224-1245 (office)
E-mail: bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER ANDRÉ L. SPIVEY
(313) 224-4841;(office)
E-mail: CouncilmanSpivey@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER JAMES TATE
(313) 224-1027 (office)
E-mail: councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER KWAME KENYATTA
(313) 224-1198 (office)
E-mail: K-Kenyatta_MB@detroitmi.gov

COUNCIL MEMBER JOANN WATSON
(313) 224-4535 (office)
E-mail: WatsonJ@detroitmi.gov

This sample letter was drafted by:
East Michigan Environmental Action Council
4605 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
Contact: Lottie V. Spady, Associate Director
www.emeac.org

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