A new, exciting project is starting to take shape in the Island View community of Detroit, Michigan. Kimberly Buffington and her son Hunter have big plans to use hydroponics as a means to create a food hub in a community that Kimberly describes as a “food desert.” Island View is located on the lower East side of Detroit and is very racially diverse. The community is located next to two affluent communities in the Detroit area, but Island View itself is not. Kimberly said that many people have the idea that since we live in America, everyone has access to everything that we need, but Kimberly noticed that this was not the case in many urban centers. She pointed out that many urban city communities lack access to healthy foods like fresh produce which is how the idea for Abundance Farms came about.
A majority of people living in urban, under-resourced communities often choose the prepackaged food options from liquor stores or gas stations since those items are the most readily available to them. This made Kimberly start to think of ways she could make fresh produce available to all communities in urban centers, not just the affluent communities. The combination of the short growing season in Detroit and the need for fresh produce year round led Kimberly and her son to begin researching hydroponic technology. One of Kimberly’s main goals with Abundance Farms is to not only create a local food system to create food security for those in Island View and surrounding communities, but also to create a food hub that will provide food education, home growing education, and business development programs for those in the community.
Kimberly hopes that Abundance Farms will bring agriculture and urban living together. Urban farming is becoming more popular as a means to meet the need to feed the ever growing population and as more and more people move to big cities and urban centers. By using hydroponic growing systems, they will be able to reduce food miles and provide fresher and more nutritious produce to communities where it is not currently accessible. “Hydroponics moves food production to the urban centers.”
While Abundance Farms is still in the planning stages, Kimberly currently runs Eden Gives, a non-profit that picks up food donations from 33 local Trader Joe’s and distributes boxes of food to families in need around the Detroit area. Through this, she and her team have also been doing lots of community outreach to see what other needs, other than providing fresh produce, Abundance Farms can work towards meeting. She said the people of Island View are looking forward to having a food hub in their neighborhood and are excited to see how Abundace Farms transforms their community. To learn more about Eden Gives and Abundance Farms, check out their website and keep an eye out for Abundance Farms updates!