Eastern Market

Further Reading on Urban Agriculture

Cronin,William , “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,” in Out  of the Woods, ed. Miller, Char and Rothman, Hal (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), 28-50.

This essay sets out to problematize the concept of wilderness in both the popular imagination and the modern environmental movement by exploring how wilderness does not actually exist outside of the conceptual realm. But also that this idealized concept of wilderness creates a false distance between human and non-human environments that refuses to acknowledge that humans live in and depend on interactions with the non-human environment. Cronin argues that the concept of wilderness is rooted in Western thought through the biblical notion of sublimity and the expansionist notion of the frontier.  The vein in this argument, of establishing wilderness as a social construction, can be contextualized in a long line of similar arguments that for instance demonstrate that race or gender are merely constructs which we use to order our reality despite their non-existence in reality. He then uses this understanding to argue for a “middle ground” that rejects the binary between human and nature that is reinforced by the concept of wilderness so as to strive for human-non-human relationships that minimize the inevitable human impact on the environment. The concept of urban gardening directly contests this inherent separation between human and wilderness.

Deeb, Ed. “History of Detroit’s Historic Eastern Market: Since 1891.” Eastern Market Corporation. http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com/page.php?p=1&s=58.

A summary on the history of Detroit’s Eastern Market written by the president and CEO of the Michigan Business and Professional Association. Beginning with its opening in 1891, the market is described as a busy hub, where farmers from Michigan and out-of-state travel to sell their produce, meats, and spices.  Flowers were also widely sold, and many people made an effort to make it out to the market. It was declared a historic area in 1977.

Fine, Sidney. Frank Murphy: The Detroit Years. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1975, pp. 284-285.

Frank Murphy, mayor of Detroit during the onset of the Great Depression, establishes thrift gardens on vacant city lots. Between 1931 and 1932, the height of the program, the gardens supplied food and benefits for about 20,000 people. The vacant lot gardening had two primary objectives: to feed the needy and to preserve the work habits of the unemployed. By the end of the program’s first year, the gardens profited each worker by about $50, justifying a continuation of the project for another year.  This book summarizes Murphy’s career as mayor of Depression-era Detroit.

Gallagher, John. Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City. Detroit: Wayne State University, 2010. Print.

Gallagher discusses the community building efforts following the economic decline of detroit in Reimagining Detroit. He spotlights many different projects being pursued, including Urban Agriculture in Chapter 3. Gallagher discusses the history of urban agriculture in Detroit, featuring Hazen Pingree’s Potato Patches, slogans from World War I (“Hoe for Liberty” and “Plant for Freedom”), World War II’s Victory Gardens, the Gardening Angels and Grace Lee Boggs beginning in the 1970s and contemporary urban farming initiatives combating the progression of Detroit into a “food desert.” Providing both opportunities for further research and current contacts for modern farming initiatives, Gallagher’s book provides a starting point for research and a framework for the urban renewal efforts in Detroit.

Gowdy-Wygant, Ceceilia. “Cultivating Victory: The Women’s Land Army and the Victory Garden Movement.” Pittsburgh, PA: Published by University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013. 165-182.

This book describes in detail the role of women in wartime garden movements both in America and in Britain. The “Farmerettes” as they were called made significant contributions to the war effort in terms of self-sustained food production to combat wartime food shortages and feed those at home and abroad.  The book also describes the significant gains these groups of women made in empowering women to challenge the gender norms of the time, that dictated that women should remain in the private sphere and out of the workplace.  “Cultivating Victory” explores the ways the wartime garden movements contributed to the ideas and feelings that later shaped the women’s rights and labor movements.

Hayes, Samuel P. “From Conservation to Environment : Environmental Politics in the United States Since World War II.” Environmental History Review: n. pag. Rpt. in Out of the Woods: Essays in Environmental History. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997. 101-26. Print.

In this essay, Hayes describes both pre and post-World War II social and political changes that allowed for the development of the environmental movement. At the beginning of the essay, Hayes lays out the pre-war perspectives of conservation and preservation. This description contrasts with post-war “environmental themes of environmental amenities, environmental protection, and human scale technology,” all of which are components of the modern environmental movement according to Hayes. Hayes argues that post-World War II global changes drove the environmental movement through both social and political change. Hayes’ references specific post-war behaviors, events, and pieces of legislation that indicate a gradual “historical evolution” that eventually led to the modern environmental movement rather than as something that was “relatively new, a departure from the past.” This article contains a large number of references to historical events and pieces of legislation that will serve as a guide during our research for the larger context of the time period. Our topic, urban agriculture, is specific has a very clear present but a less clearly defined past. We will need to reference Hayes’ essay to discover possible social or political stimuli that would lead to urban agriculture activities in Detroit.

Holli, Melvin G., Reform in Detroit: Hazen S. Pingree and Urban Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969)

Reform in Detroit summarizes the political career of Hazen S. Pingree, Detroit’s mayor from 1890 to 1897.  The book focuses on Mayor Pingree’s attitude and policies towards reform in the city of Detroit, especially in his aggressive campaigns against big business monopolies and in favor of people’s rights.  His support base came primarily from laborers and the unemployed during the financial crisis that struck Detroit and the rest of the United States in the 1890s.  Pingree worked to create relief programs for the unemployed, including temporary work programs.  Among his most memorable programs to aid the poor was what would become known as the “Pingree Potatoe Patch Plan”, a policy funded by the city government that attempted to create urban gardens from abandoned or vacant lots.  These gardens provided the unemployed with the opportunity to both work and raise food for their families.  Pingree’s commitment to social reform marked the beginning of a transformative era of politics in which the government took an active, hand-on role in providing assistance to it’s citizens and protecting their rights.  Reform in Detroit speaks to the triumphs and difficulties of Mayor Pingree’s political career as he attempted to pursue and create his vision for a more just Detroit.

Lawson, Laura, City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005)

This book provides an extensive overview of urban gardening since the late 19th century and, more importantly, how urban gardening fit into broader national discussions and sentiments such as those regarding the nature of the urban environment or poverty.  Lawson moves from the vacant-lot gardening program in Detroit which pioneered and popularized, in 1893, the concept of urban farming as a temporary measure for addressing unemployment, through the victory gardens of WWII, to the current manifestation of urban farming as a means of urban renewal and self-determination for disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities.  Theoretically, Lawson approaches urban farming as a phenomenon that cannot be reduced to a means of urban subsistence but rather must be understood as emerging under specific historical conditions having to do with economic and sociopolitical factors.  In this way she is drawing on certain elements of social constructionism such as is employed by William Cronon when describing how the concept of wilderness came to be conceived  of and constructed in reality, only her entire historical slant is her means of fleshing out how we have conceived of and do conceive of urban farming. Also of interest in this text is how she tentatively suggests that there is an impermanence to urban farming movements as they never become incorporated fully into the fabric of urban land use. Finally, she discusses how, ideologically, urban farms can encounter problems with outdated notions of environmental determinism and reproducing the false binary of nature vs. human, can be paternalistic towards disadvantaged communities, and can be viewed as a sort of panacea for social ills which only serves to distract attention from addressing deeper, structural issues.  To counter this, she outlines specifically how urban farms can be used so as to build strong, self-reliant communities from shattered, economically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods if they are critical of acknowledging exactly what it is that a farm is being designed to address, whether that be food security, or lack of employment, or developing a sense of community and shared purpose.

Loomis, Bill. “Wild Times at the Farmers Market.” The Detroit News, July 31, 2011. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20110731/METRO07/107310301.

This article describes what social interactions and infrastructure was like at the Eastern, Western, and Central Markets in Detroit in a timeline format.  Marketplace transactions and the creation of these interactive spaces can be traced back to the very origins of the city, when Detroit had it’s roots as a trade-post and agricultural community.  Various groups of people, ranging from Canadians to Native Americans to “drovers” to the poor,  traveled to the markets to purchase fresh food.  The farmers markets seemed to have plenty of chaotic activity, as depicted by the types of people illustrated in the article.  The Detroit News also hosts a series of photographs of both the Eastern and Western Markets that depict life in the markets throughout the centruries.

Marshall De Weese, Pamela. The Detroit Eastern Farmer’s Market: Its Social Structure and Functions. Detroit: Ethnic Studies Division, Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University, 1975.

An ethnographic report on the history, formal, and informal infrastructure of Detroit’s Eastern Farmers Market.  There is a lot of detail describing the importance of the informal infrastructure, such as social interactions and kinship, especially within immigrant groups of the late 19th to early 20th century. Eastern Market was one of the most popular, if not the most popular, venues to interact with local farmers from the late 19th century through the latter half of the 20th century. Urban spaces like the Eastern Market have provided Detroit communities with a place that allows people from the inner city, the suburbs, and other diverse backgrounds to interact and socialize: a purpose these markets still fulfill today.

Merchant, Carolyn. “The Theoretical Structure of Ecological Revolutions,” in Out of the Woods: Essays  in Environmental History, ed. Char Miller, Hal Rothman (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), 18-27.

Merchant argues that the most useful concepts to address environmental history are ecology, production, reproduction, and consciousness. Merchant defines production as “the human counterpart of ‘nature’s’ activity” and states that “the need to produce sustenance to reproduce human energy on a daily basis connects human communities with their local environments.” She argues that the production of food in a garden or a kitchen is necessary for human survival and reproduction, and thus is intrinsically linked to motherhood and women’s work in the domestic sphere. These viewpoints are useful for our group in defining the role of women in the urban agriculture movement throughout time. We will be able to analyze if this point of view has been upheld throughout different time periods and use it to compare and contrast the role of women in different urban agriculture movements.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, “Growtown in the Motor City: Examining Trends in Agriculture in the Detroit City Area from the 1700s” (Detroit, 2013).

An essay written by a representative of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative summarizing a brief history of urban farming in Detroit. Ranging from ribbon farms during the 1700s to current initiatives, the essay illustrates how agriculture has been woven throughout the city’s history. It argues that Detroit has proven itself to be self-sustaining, allowing citizens to be free from a lack of food security in an constantly-changing city.

Neighbors Building Brightmoor. “History.” Accessed March 27, 2014. http://neighborsbuildingbrightmoor.org/a-brief-history/.

Neighbors Building Brightmoor is an organization to have the children of Brightmoor become more involved in their community.  Comprised of volunteers and students, the group has fought blight by creating local gardens throughout the neighborhood.  The goal of the program is not only to educate Detroit’s youth about urban agriculture and gardening, but to also revitalize Brightmoor and other areas of Detroit.

Philpott, Tom.  From Motown to Growtown: The greening of Detroit (Seattle, WA: Grist Magazine, 2010).

From Motown to Growtown is an article discussing the future of Detroit.  It argues that urban agricultural revival is nearly impossible to understand without looking into the factors and forces that make it necessary.  Illustrating examples of racial tensions and economic changes, the account depicts a brief description of what the infrastructure and people of Detroit looked like and how it came to be over the last 50 years.  Malik Yakini, chairman of the Detroit Black Food Security Network, was interviewed for the article, describing his experiences as a Detroit native.  After growing up and witnessing all of Detroit’s changes, Yakini views urban agriculture as a source of restoring power to the people of the city.

Russel, M.A., Highland Park’s School Victory Gardens, Vol. 6, No. 8. (Highland Park, MI: The University of California Press on behalf of the National Association of Biology Teachers, May 1944), 171-174.

This journal provides a description of the Highland Park School’s victory gardens initiative that took place between 1942 and 1944.  Written after the close of the garden program, the journal reflects on the history of the project in terms of where and how Highland Park School administrator’s decided to initiate a school victory garden, the goals of the project, the lessons they hoped participating children gained through the experience.  The journal provides replicas of forms used when signing up participants, instructions on design (copied from the Detroit victory garden model), and instruction on victory garden best-practices.

Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. Henry Ford and His Researchers– History of Their Work with Soybeans, Soyfood, and Chemurgy (1928-2011). Lafayette, CA: Soyinfo Center, 2011.

This book describes the history of Henry Ford and his research on soybeans. There is a timeline depicting the most important dates regarding the research, such as the cultivation of the crop and its implementation in plastic.  Many images throughout the first half of the 20th century are also included.  Ford’s experimentation landed him an important role in WWII and it also dubbed him to be a pioneer in soy research.

Simmons, I. G. , “The Earliest Cultural Landscapes of England,” in Out of the Woods: Essays in Environmental History, ed. Char Miller and Hal Rothman (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), 53-63.

In this essay, the earliest cultural landscapes of the English countryside are discussed as constituent elements of the contemporary human landscape.  Simmons explores the prehistoric, environmental record from various angles and reveals how certain, current-day vegetative patterns are remnants of the activities of prehistoric hunters and gatherers.  The argument is two-fold. On one hand, Simmons is making a point as to the remarkable, temporal depth to human land-use activity.  If the activities of humans from 10,000 years ago are still a traceable element of the patchwork of human land-use then our actions should weigh heavily on our minds for both their foreseen and unforeseen, lasting effects. On the other, Simmons, much like William Cronin, is arguing against the concept of wilderness, of untouched space.  By pointing out the human impact on a seemingly “natural” landscape he is deconstructing our notion of any clear-cut division between human beings and Nature.  This essay is also interesting for its explanation as to how the prehistoric record is created and interpreted by archaeologists and the like.

Saloutos, Theodore.  “The Immigrant Contribution to American Agriculture,” Agricultural History. Vol. 50, No. 1 (January 1976): 45-67.

This article discusses various immigration movements in the 20th century and the roles the different groups of people and cultures played in shaping agriculture in America.  Of particular interest to Detroit’s history was the discussion on Eastern European immigrants that settled in the area, as well as the trends in agriculture, cultivation, and relationship with the land that African Americans developed working and living in heavy agriculture areas of the South.  These attitudes and skills were then brought with them to Northern cities during the Great Migration, and continued to influence communities and relations in the new environments.

Tolnay, Stewart E. “The African American ‘Great Migration’ and Beyond.” Annual Review of Sociology. 29 (2003): 209-232.

Tonay’s article discusses the large movement of African Americans from rural agricultural communities in the south to large urban industrial cities in the north, and the implications this movement had on African Americans and the cities they settled in. Known as the “Great Migration”, the sudden movement of millions of people of color into already densely populated cities not only strained economic resources in these areas, but also increased racial tensions as competition for jobs, living spaces, etc. got more competitive.  Tolnay explores the obstacles facing African American assimilation during the Great Migration, as well as the trends in the decades following the movement.

 Tucker, David. Kitchen Gardening in America. (Iowa State University Press, 1993)

In Kitchen Gardening in America David Tucker provides a clear and thorough outline of the purpose and shape of gardens throughout American history.  Moreover, he describes the historical context that made gardens from one generation unique compared to gardens from another generation.  Tucker begins his detailed history of American gardening starting with Native American gardeners.  He spends the first four chapters discussing gardens in 1600s, 1700s, 1800s.  Then in the last eight chapters, he discusses gardening during the late 1800s and onward.  That being said, while Tucker focuses mainly on more conventional notions of gardening (i.e. gardens as a reaction to urbanization, victory gardens, community gardening, etc), he provides the reader with a very comprehensive history. This separates Tucker’s work from other authors who have written on a similar subject.   For example, in City Bountiful Laura Lawson also writes about the history of gardening in America.  However, Lawson focuses only on gardening from the industrialization/urbanization onward.  Additionally, instead of organizing the history by generation or time period, Lawson divides her history in three different phases.  Lawson draws similarities between the phases, but what mainly separates one phase from the next is the purpose gardening served during that phase.  Again, this differs from Tucker because while he describes how gardens varied through different time periods, his book is organized more as a time like. For our purposes, Lawson’s book is a little more helpful because she provides a more critical lens and focuses more on the time period we are interested in; however, we should not discredit the usefulness of Tucker’s work.  Tucker provides us with a visible outline of the evolution of gardening in America.  Most importantly, he provides us with perspective and scope– he gives us the “big picture” and reminds us of the long tradition of gardening in America.

Warner, Sam. To Dwell is to Garden: A History of Boston’s Community Gardens. (Northeastern University Press,1987)

Sam B. Warner’s To Dwell is to Garden is a case study of the history of community gardening in Boston. Warner successfully shows the human compassion and cultural aspects of community gardens, which helps to further purpose of highlighting the integral role gardens play in building a strong community.  Warner begins Part One: A History of Community Gardens with gardens in the late eighteenth century and goes on to describe the enclosure movements.  Like Lawson and Tucker, he also describes the war gardens of World War I and II and community gardens of 1970s.  What separates Warner’s piece from the others is not necessarily the content of history he provides, but what comes in part two and part three—Part Two: Portraits and Part Three: This Histories Within the Garden.   In Part Two, Warner includes blown-up, black and white photographs taken by Hansi Durlach.  The photographs vary from individuals to couples to families all interacting with a garden.  The photographs bring compassion and human life into understanding the history of community gardens.  To enhance human aspect first exposed in Part Two, in Part Three Warner describes how the food grown in gardens reflects the histories of the people who built and use the garden.  For example, he describes how Afro-American gardens reflect the roots of African Americans.  Warner reveals how gardens can be used a lens to study people. For our purposes, Warner’s To Dwell is to Garden is useful for two main reasons.  Firstly, while for most of this book he focuses on Boston, he does specifically cite Detroit as the first major city to organize allotment gardening with mayor Hazen Pingree’s potato patches.  Secondly, we can apply Warner’s technique of using gardens to study people and culture in Detroit.  Warner shows the importance of the people behind the garden and their story.

White, Richard, The Organic Machine (New York, New York: Hill and Wang, 1995), 107-113.

A comprehensive look at the history of human being’s interactions with the Columbia River, White’s book prompts us to wonder if anything on Earth is purely natural. White marvels at the river’s capacity to do work, highlighting the caloric energy of the salmon and the creation of a basalt layer at the bottom of the river. Not only have we influenced the state of the Columbia, but the river has changed the course of human society, forcing early European explorers to interact with Native Americans and creating conflict between laborers in the salmon farming industry. White’s organic machine argument is very similar to Cronin’s idea of the middle ground, in that human and non-human have always been connected and attempting to separate them creates only strife. We can use White’s concept of the “organic machine” to look at the history of Detroiters interactions with their environments.

Witkowski, Terrence H., World War II Poster Campaigns: Preaching Frugality to American Consumers, (Journal of Advertising, Vol. 32, No. 1, Spring 2003), 69-82.

Witkowski’s article provides a description and analysis of government attempts to instill a sense of conservation of scarce resources during World War II to the American consumer.  Witkowski looks at war time poster campaigns, such as those used to encourage participation and production of Victory Gardens, to understand the underlying motives and widespread feelings that dictated consumer culture during this era. The paper stresses the impact these campaigns had on the public’s perception of the value of reducing use, recycling, producing at home, and utilizing all available resources for a nationalistic goal. The paper also discusses statistics on the effects of these campaigns in terms of actual production/reduction numbers.

Woodford, Arthur,   This Is Detroit 1701 – 2001, Arthur Woodford, (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 2001).

This Is Detroit provides an overview of the city’s history from its settlement beginnings in 1701 through modern Detroit in 2001.  In a series of pictures, it tracks Detroit’s growth from its early days as a hunting and trading post to one of the most prominent cities in America.  The book uses pictures and photographs from the various periods in Detroit’s history to illustrate the many different cultures, industries, events, and people that influenced Detroit’s development.  While the historical information provided is a broad overview of the complicated and intricate structures of the city, the pictures in This Is Detroit gives the reader a more visual and personal understanding of the people and events that made the city.

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