ORGANIZATION NAME: The Neighborhood Service Organization

SUMMARY: GrowTown is a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling neighborhoods, left fragmented in post-industrial cities and landscapes, to self-organize. Through grassroots community-driven design and local leadership, the Local Food Economy is the catalyst for growing resilient and sustainable neighborhoods that can respond to the important challenges of our time.

PROBLEM SPACE: Food insecurity, high unemployment, poverty, vacant land and fragmented neighborhoods act as barriers to opportunity. These critical issues face post-industrial cities like Detroit. GrowTown provides the framework and support to build enabling spaces and connections that make the growth of dynamic and sustainable communities possible, from the ground up.

SOLUTION: Cities like Detroit are rich in land and infrastructure, but poor in capital. Urban farmers, activists, entrepreneurs, and innovators are scattered over a vast landscape. GrowTown offers a ToolBox of low-cost, adaptable solutions to harness positive community energy into distinctive centers of growing community.

Food is the jumping off point for revitalizing neighborhoods from the ground up. The Local Food Economy and its marketplace is the natural focus for civic engagement and activities that cultivate relationships and connections necessary to build successful social and economic networks.

Our systems-oriented approach uses thoughtful design at multiple levels, from grassroots to large projects. Creative recycling of existing infrastructure and local assets form a working framework for a growing network of interrelated and self-reliant urban villages.

Through a ToolBox of innovative solutions and resources – technical, educational and financial – GrowTown empowers people and neighborhoods that have few resources to envision their own future and be the inventors of the post-industrial city.

The Oakman neighborhood in Detroit, with plans for a farm, housing and adaptive reuse of an historic building is currently being coordinated with a local non-profit. We have begun partnering with two more neighborhoods and the ToolBox content and format are being developed.

CONTACT PERSON: [email protected]