Detroit, a city where the economy once thrived and industrial growth boomed, is now a shadow of its former self.

But while the population of the city has declined dramatically, falling to its lowest level since just after the turn of the 20th century, those who are left have not given up.

A new documentary, “Urban Roots,” found that, despite fewer residents, Detroit is at the center of a growing urban farming phenomenon. The movement captured the eye of director Mark MacInnis and producers Leila Conners and Matthew Schmid, whose film
shows how the remaining Detroit residents are creating urban farms and producing organic foods for a healthier, sustainable living.

Deserted lots have turned into gardens, making fresh food available to those who live in a “food dessert,” a place where healthy and affordable food is hard to find.

The documentary “shows another option besides collapse, instead, when people take responsibility for themselves, and when the framework allows them to create community, that’s when change happens,” Conners told “People from all walks of life coming together to find a common cause, common principles and create community,” Schmid said.

“Urban Roots” will be shown in 70 cities nationwide through Whole Foods’ “Do Something Reel” Film Festival, and can be purchased at


Erica Butler

AFRO Staff Writer