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Top 10 Green Spaces and Events in Detroit

Hungry for a sampling of places and events where you can see, taste or otherwise meet and mingle with green Detroit?
Here are our Top 10.

eastern market detroit

1. Eastern Market

It goes without saying that going to Eastern Market is one of the best ways to spend a Saturday in the city. There’s an abundance of fresh produce from farmers throughout Michigan, fresh-cut flowers and delicious food from trucks and popular eateries. Saturday is the Big Kahuna of market days, but Eastern Market is now open on some Tuesdays and Sundays, too.
detroiteasternmarket.com

INSIDER DIRT: Other popular city markets exist, including Wayne State University Farmers Market, which runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June-October, along Cass Avenue between Putnam and Kirby. The Northwest Detroit Farmers Market is in the North Rosedale Park Community Club House from 4-8 p.m. June-October.
Visit detroitmarkets.org

Green Garage Detroit

2. Green Garage

Tom and Peggy Brennan of the Detroit suburb Troy are convinced that being green is not just a trend; it is a way of living well. So, the couple opened up Green Garage in 2011. This address is several things in one:
- A green showcase. It’s an old warehouse, renovated with recycled materials, that uses almost zero energy.
- An incubation center. It’s a business hub that encourages and supports startups that are environmentally friendly and socially conscious.
- An office building. It offers space for newly established, environmentally aware businesses (currently 51 of them), whether the need is one desk or an office suite for six.
greengarage.com

INSIDER DIRT: Green Garage has a rooftop garden and supplies fresh ingredients to Motor City Brewing Works. On most Fridays at noon, there is a brown-bag community lunchtime and 30-minute public building tour.

Detroit riverfront bikes yoga

3. The Detroit Riverfront

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy has done a magnificent job of transforming Detroit’s riverfront into a fun, attractive, healthy place adorned with pathways, parks, playgrounds, yoga classes and spectacular views. Another beauty along the riverfront is Belle Isle Park. Don’t overlook the park’s Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. Admission to this tropical oasis is free (There is a fee to get on the island for those who drive).
detroitriverfront.org
belleisleconservancy.org

INSIDER DIRT: Rent a bike from Wheelhouse Detroit on Atwater Street on the Detroit RiverWalk, and pedal your way along the riverfront. You’ll pass several parks, including the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor and the newly renovated Mt. Elliott Park, plus Detroit RiverWalk West, the latest extension of the RiverWalk. Or, check out Detroit Community Yoga’s Bikes and Yoga program. It starts in May at Wheelhouse Detroit and ends on Belle Isle, and it’s free. For more info, check out detroitcommunityyoga.com.

dequindre cut detroit

4. Dequindre Cut Greenway

Operated by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, this former railroad line is now a 1.35-mile recreational pathway that links the riverfront to Eastern Market and neighborhoods along the way. A portion of the greenway that will take people directly from the riverfront to Eastern Market is expected to open this summer. And mark your calendar for the classy Light Up the Riverfront (June 4) and the chic soiree on the Greenway (Aug. 20).
detroitriverfront.org

INSIDER DIRT: As you walk, run or bike the Dequindre Cut Greenway, notice the public art, including murals from local artists as well as reproductions of works hanging in the galleries of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

lafayette greens detroit

5. Lafayette Greens

Located smack-dab in the heart of downtown Detroit, in the midst of courthouses and office buildings, this raised-bed organic garden truly exemplifies how a concrete site can sprout into a beautiful green space. It’s on a site left vacant by the razing of an office building, at the corner where West Lafayette, Shelby and Michigan Avenue intersect. See the children’s garden, heirloom apple orchard and a variety of produce.
facebook.com/lafayettegreens

INSIDER DIRT: A public market runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays, June-October. Yoga, hula-hoop™ and other classes are offered in the garden, too.

6. Farm To Fork Bike Tours

Keep Growing Detroit, in conjunction with Wheelhouse Detroit, offers bicycle tours to local farms, gardens and food-focused businesses. The approximately 10-mile round-trip tours occur at least monthly from June-September. After the tour, cyclists are encouraged to dine at local restaurants that rely on nearby farms’ fresh produce.
wheelhousedetroit.com
detroitagriculture.net

INSIDER DIRT: In addition to scheduled events, special tours can be arranged through Wheelhouse Detroit and Keep Growing Detroit. Just ask.

fresh cut flower farm detroit

7. Fresh Cut Flower Farm

Sarah Pappas long dreamed of being a farmer. The idea took shape when she and her husband bought an 1890s house and its three adjoining vacant lots on the edge of Detroit’s Woodbridge neighborhood. She decided on raising flowers because they’re a beautiful way to fill in a niche in Detroit’s growing greenscape, she said. “Flowers make people feel special,” said Pappas, who grows zinnias, poppies, marigolds, snapdragons and more. “When you get flowers, it makes people feel happy.”
freshcutdetroit.com

INSIDER DIRT: Fresh Cut is run from Sarah Pappas’ home (1760 W. Forest Ave. at Rosa Parks Blvd.). You can preorder weekly bouquets or stop by the flower farm from 4-8 p.m. Thursdays from late May-September.

8. D-Town Farm

From June-October, you’ll see rows and rows of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. The farm’s mission is to model self-determination, said Malik Yakini, who helped start the farm at a much smaller location in 2006. “We’re growing people’s consciousness and awareness of the potential to address their own problems at the same time that we’re growing vegetables,” said Yakini. Foods from the garden are sold at local markets, but also at the farm from 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays and Sundays, June-October.
dtownfarm.blogspot.com

INSIDER DIRT: D-Town Farm hosts an annual harvest festival in September that features foods from the garden and vendors from throughout metro Detroit. Mark your fall calendar for Sept. 19-20.

9. Hantz Woodlands

Just east of Detroit’s stately Indian Village, a forgotten section of the city’s east side is being rebuilt one tree at a time. Actually, make that hundreds at a time. Led by Detroit business leader John Hantz, the Woodlands is a 150-acre tree farm. In May 2014, thousands of volunteers helped plant 15,000 hardwood maple and oak saplings. Last October, another 500 sugar maples went in the ground, with more trees to come this spring.
hantzfarmsdetroit.com

INSIDER DIRT: Visit the tree farm on your own, or make arrangements for a group tour.

10. Keep Growing Detroit’s Annual Bus and Bike Tour

Each year on the first Wednesday of August, Keep Growing Detroit arranges bus and bike tours of some of the city’s gardens. Last year, 38 gardens were on tour. There are at least four different buses, plus four different bike routes. At each garden, a leader or volunteer meets tourists to talk about special offerings and unique features of the garden. Frequently, the proud gardeners offer a sampling of food from their beds. To cap off the tour, a sumptuous meal is prepared using just-plucked ingredients and is served at Eastern Market, the tour’s start and end point.
detroitagriculture.net

INSIDER DIRT: The bus tour is popular and seats fill fast. Register early.


Other Markets, Gardens, Gifts Showing Off Detroit’s Greener Side:

Plum Street Market Garden Downtown fruits and veggies

North Cass Community Garden Resident-planned and -constructed

Earthworks Urban Farm Take the self-guided tour

Edible Hut Community gathering space in east-side Detroit’s Calimera Park

Georgia St. Community Collective Gardens covering five lots with a fruit orchard

Brother Nature Produce Corktown urban farm with produce often found on local restaurant menus

Firmly Planted Downtown garden and gift center on Woodward Avenue


According to Keep Growing Detroit, the following is a list of restaurants that get their fresh ingredients from the city’s farmers.

• Astro Coffee

• Brooklyn Street Local

• Cliff Bell's

• Colors Restaurant

• Grand Trunk Pub

• Mudgie's Deli

• Rose's Fine Foods

• Russell Street Deli

• St. Cece's Pub

• Supino Pizzeria

For more information about the program, call 313-757-2635 or go to detroitagriculture.net.

carrots

From Our Garden To Yours

After some morning shopping at Eastern Market, head on over to City Bird and pick up a print of the Eastern Market sheds, or choose from a variety of air plants next door at Nest.
ilovecitybird.com
nestdetroit.com
  nest detroit air plants

Photo Credits (from top): Eastern Market by Bill Bowen; Green Garage by David Lewinski; Bikes and yoga by James Brown/Free Face; Dequindre Cut by Detroit RiverFront Conservancy; Lafayette Greens by Beth Hagenbuch; Fresh Cut Flower Farm by EE Berger.


 

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Travel Tip

When walking the exhibit halls in Henry Ford Museum, don’t miss the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and a camp bed slept on by George Washington.

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