Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Belated: What we learned at the Symposium

On Friday, Rebecca and I attended Re-Building the Post Industrial City, an excellent symposium put on by the Journal of Law in Society at Wayne State. Not only were the speakers and panels wonderful, but the conference was well-organized and publicized.

I'll give just a few highlights:

Meeting Kathryn Lynch Underwood of the City Planning Commission (CPC). She indicated that she knows Mark Covington of Georgia Street, and that the CPC is working on building codes and zones related to urban agriculture. This is a huge relief for us (although we'll want to get in on the public hearings), because we can dedicate resources to areas other than lobbying for permission to keep livestock in the city.

Learning about the amount of lead in Detroit's soil. This was disappointing, since there's a huge heavy metal problem in the city that will need to be solved before urban agriculture can really take off, but Rebecca and I have been discussing possible strategies for remediation and partnerships.

Realizing that MSU should have an Urban Agriculture Symposium. As a land-grant institution with some of the top agricultural programs in the country, MSU should be closely and visibly involved with the urban agriculture happening in Detroit. More on that later, we hope.


  1. You know, if you run into any problems with zoning, my father was (and may still be) with the zoning board of Sterling Heights for 10-15 years. He also does contract stuff. If you need some legal advice on either of those two topics, he'd probably be happy to help!

  2. That would be awesome - we're hoping to find favorable codes and so forth; it sounds like Kathryn is an advocate for urban agriculture, but we'll keep it in mind.