Detroit: Pave the Fast Food Joints & Put In Farms

detroitNot to be outdone by San Francisco's ban on McDonald's Happy Meal toys, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is calling on Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to call a moratorium on new fast food restaurants on Detroit.

I guess that might keep things from getting much worse, but Detroit already has more fast food restaurants than other cities its size. And anyway, I'm always skeptical about measures that limit people's choices.

Here's my question for the anti-fast food crusaders. You're making it harder to make unhealthy choices, sort of. But what are you doing to make it easier -- and more fun -- to make healthy choices?


Hello? Anything?

Here's why people are eating fast food in Detroit:

1. Unemployment is high.

2. Fast food is cheap.

2. There's not a single grocery store chain within city limits.

So yeah, while you're blocking new fast food restaurants, how's about finding ways to get some grocery stores in the city so people can buy, you know, FOOD. 

Here's another idea, and it's a little crazy but it just might work. Detroit has so much vacant land and so few grocery stores that people have started farming in vacant lots. In fact, Detroit may soon become the home of the largest urban farm in the world. Hantz Farms would eventually employ hundreds of people, transform some 70 acres of urban wasteland (to start), and provide fresh produce for people living in Detroit. And it's not a charity or nonprofit -- this is a for-profit venture.

Of course, smaller urban gardeners have been working the land in Detroit for years. Hopefully, having a large-scale urban farm will also benefit these smaller farms and turn Detroit into a completely different city -- a new, healthier city where people make good food choices because it's cheap, convenient, and maybe even fun.

Do you think more city farms could save Detroit?

Image via Bob Jagendorf/Flickr

Read More >