Hantz is one of the few remaining millionaires in Detroit, where the median family income is under $30,000. And the urban sprawl that Detroit encompasses is larger than Boston, Manhatten, and San Francisco combined. There is a lot of unused land in Detroit. This John Hantz thinking about how to use all of that vacant land. He is pitching a proposal to turn Detroit into a modern farming community. I think he might be on to something.
Cities have a lot of “green cred” going for them when it comes to public transportation, walkability, and making the most out of very limited space. But despite all of this, they still need to import all of their food, usually from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. It isn’t green, but it is necessary. Detroit is the perfect candidate for attempting urban farming on a massive scale because all that vacant land means plenty of planting opportunities.
Hantz’s idea calls for creating farm “pods”, each with its own residential frontage, placed strategically around the city. The pods will utilize the latest in green farming technology like compost-heated greenhouses and hydroponic systems. Hantz is willing to put up the $30 million himself to get the project started, once he gets a few concessions from the Detroit city government which includes new agricultural tax regulations, and access to non-delinquent land.