Looking for farmland? Try Detroit.

Mark Dowie’s article is creative thinking at its best.

Were I an aspiring farmer in search of fertile land to buy and plow, I would seriously consider moving to Detroit. There is open land, fertile soil, ample water, willing labor, and a desperate demand for decent food. And there is plenty of community will behind the idea of turning the capital of American industry into an agrarian paradise. In fact, of all the cities in the world, Detroit may be best positioned to become the world’s first one hundred percent food self-sufficient city.

The picture he paints of Detroit is bleak. But Dowie deserves high praise for seeking out new ways to deal with the situation as it actually exists, rather than the usual deluded proposals for turning back the clock.

It occurs to me that, assuming that the crisis is an extended (or permanent) one and various urban areas continue to spiral downward, reclaiming the ruins in this way may be something that Christians are called to do in the years ahead, much as the early Christians made such a dramatic impact on Roman society simply by standing by urban dwellers and serving them in times of need—plagues, famine, and so on.


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