Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog
Late last month, I wrote about the amazing Hamtown Farms urban farm in Hamtramck, Michigan. The farm sits on city land that had been vacant for decades. Now that the city is legally able to begin selling off their empty lots, Cathy Square, the Emergency Manager in Hamtramck has swept aside previous agreements signed by the city with regard to preserving the farm and it putting the land up for auction. This is the only “fair” way to do it, Square told me, despite the fact that the volunteers that run Hamtown Farms have put tens of thousands of dollars of improvements into city lots they occupy.
Hamtown Farms has a lot of supporters from the Hamtramck business community. Unfortunately, one of those supporters is NOT Kowalski Sausage which owns the land adjacent to Hamtown Farms. In what can only be called an utter public relations disaster — a self-inflicted public relations disaster, in fact — Kowalski Sausage is attempting to procure the land Hamtown Farms occupies to create parking lot or buffer for their commercial business.
Fortunately, Hamtown Farms is seeing a tremendous amount of support. They have created a fundraising page at indiegogo called “Save Hamtown Farms”. They have a goal of raising $10,000 in time for the auction which takes place on November 21st. So far, they have raised just over $7,500. These funds will be used in an attempt to outbid Kowalski Sausage so that they will own the land the farm sits on outright and will no longer have to grovel and beg to exist.
Hamtown Farms is truly a shining star in metropolitan Detroit’s ongoing effort to reinvent itself after the implosion of its population and the financial crises that plague cities like Hamtramck. Rather than forcing them to panhandle for funds to keep it going, the coordinators of this extraordinary space should be lauded and held aloft as an example of how people working together can make our urban areas better places to live, raise families, and own businesses. It verges on insanity that they are having to waste time and resources raising money in this way. So, please, visit their indiegogo site and make a contribution. Once they own the land themselves, they can focus on doing what they do best: creating a vibrant, nourishing greenspace in the most densely-populated city in Michigan.
There are a couple of other opportunities to help Hamtown Farms, as well. I spoke with Michael Davis, one of the founders of Hamtown Farms, to get an update on their progress. He told me that, in addition to the indiegogo fundraiser, the Rock City Eatery will be doing a Hamtown Farms fundraiser of their own on Wednesday, November 13t. Between 4:00-6:30 p.m. their servers will be asking if patrons would like to give three [dollars] for the farm. Patrons will be able to add a donation to their bill. There will also be a donation jug on the counter. Rock City Eatery is at 11411 Joseph Campau Avenue in Hamtramck. You can learn more at their Facebook page.
In addition to the Rock City Eatery event, on Friday, November 15th at 6:00 p.m. at the Loyal Order of Moose, there will be a $10 pasta dinner with Chef Susan’s world renowned and highly secret Sicilian sauce. The Loyal Order of Moose is located at 9421 Conant Street in Hamtramck. Click the image below for a larger version of the promotional flyer for the pasta dinner.
The auction of city lots which includes the land on which Hamtown Farms sits is on Thursday, November 21st in the 2nd Floor City Council chambers in the City Hall at 3401 Evaline Street in Hamtramck. Bidder registration starts at 10:00 a.m. and the auction starts at 11:00 a.m.
Please make a contribution to save Hamtown Farms. It’s essential that such a precious community-building, community-nourishing project be saved and encouraged.
By the way, you can keep up with the latest developments on Hamtown Farms’ future at their Facebook page.
Also, here’s a video that gives a good look at their amazing project: