This article analyzes an overlooked innovative experience led by black women activists, who participate in urban agriculture as a way of reassessing their cultural roots and reclaiming personal power, freed from the constraints imposed by consumerism and marketing, on the supply of food in the city of Detroit. By farming, they demonstrate agency and self-determination in their efforts to build a sense of community. Using an ecofeminist perspective, this article examines the relationship between women’s resistance and the environment. By focusing on women’s urban gardening, the article broadens the definition to include less formal, but no less important, forms of resistance.
The article is divided into two parts. The first deals with the implementation of the project launched by the members of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN). Government statistics and secondary research provide the backdrop to the economic problems in the City of Detroit that triggered the community response. The second part presents women farmers’ attempts to transform vacant land to create a community-based food system. These activists construct the farm as a community safe space, which operates as a creative, public outdoor classroom where they nurture activism and challenge the racial and class-based barriers to accessing healthy food. In addition to improving access to healthy food by repurposing vacant land, they are transforming their communities into safe and green spaces.