Earthworks Urban Farms: Sustainable Agriculture in Detroit

Earthworks Urban Farms: Sustainable Agriculture in Detroit

Sarah Coffey
Jul 30, 2010

Store History

  • Founded: 1997
  • Founded by: Brother Rick Samyn
  • Headquarters: Detroit, MI
  • Sister stores: Capuchin Soup Kitchen

Brother Rick Samyn got the idea to start an urban farm in the 1990s, while he was working at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit. To supply the kitchen, he began growing vegetables and food on a small plot of land and, two years later, the farm had expanded onto multiple lots. It's now a fully functional 1.5-acre farm with a 1,300 square foot greenhouse and a 30-hive apiary.

They rely on volunteers to seed, plant, and harvest the crops. They also host gardening classes, youth programs, and — of course — continue to supply the Soup Kitchen, where the grounds are located. (Lunch is served Monday through Friday, 11 am - 1 pm.)

During the growing season, they sell food and honey through local farmers markets — they're a member of the Michigan Farmers Market Association. They're a certified organic farm, they avoid pesticides and fertilizers, and rely mainly on locally produced compost.

In 2001, Earthworks began working with Project FRESH, a program that supplies locally grown food to low-income families. Sales from market produce supports the program, in which qualified participants receive vouchers for locally grown farm produce.

For more information about Earthworks and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, check out their website.

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