i’m not inclined to give a lot of attention to corporate farming or gardening projects, but i am inclined to supporting my friends. see the delicata is the farmer over at lafayette greens and having helped train her in the farming ways, i couldn’t not support her and attend the grand opening for the project she has been spending so much time on lafayette greens.
a little back ground – lafayette greens is located on the same space as the lafayette building used to be, formerly one of my favorite building in detroit, sadly it met the wreaking ball a bit over a year ago – if you care to see posts about its destruction you can see that here and here. but that’s all in the past, and when local corporation compuware – which makes some sort of software, ( i actually went and did some research to try to learn more about compuware, but even with all that research what they do seems firmly rooted in the i don’t understand and i don’t care realm) decided they wanted in on the community gardening trend, they set their sights on vacant lots close to home. since they are located smack dab in downtown detroit, that means that there are pretty few options, and this recently vacated location, across from the book cadillac, and next to the iconic rival coney islands, and just down the street from headquarters was perfect.
a lot of me of wants to hate on this project, after all, its got a huge amount of money, a huge amount of resources, a huge amount of media, and a huge amount of attention. call me jealous, and i suppose on some levels you would be right. but i just couldn’t hate the place, i actually felt charmed.
sitting on the lovely wooden benches that are mounted on the tall side of each of the garden beds (what are those made out of anyway? teak? that’s nice wood!) surrounded by the soaring buildings of downtown, the lovely sounds of local band lac la belle, and the wonderfully cared for gardens, i felt relaxed and happy. it’s a wonderful space, i didn’t really want t leave. while i was there several folks came up who worked in local office buildings to inquire about volunteering during their lunch break.
there were some nice touches – such as catering from the capuchin soup kitchen, featuring produce from the gardens there, and murals from my friends at the detroit mural factory. the gardens are largely to be tended by volunteers from compuware, with the produce going to gleaners community food bank. all of the garden beds were nicely laid out and maintained, but the area i took the most joy in, was the children’s gardens.they had used food grade oil drums sunk half-way into the ground, and then each drum had its own theme. some by color, some by texture, and others by function. all with cute little signs, and fun things for youth to do. i’d actually rank it among the best youth gardens i’ve seen of this size.
so while it would be fun to be a hater on corporate gardens, the reality is that its very nicely executed and looks just awesome. so if you are in downtown, take a stroll by and check em out, and if you are looking for a garden to get involved in, this just might be the place.