Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Trailer 'Grown in Detroit' from Mascha Poppenk on Vimeo.

Remember that wonderful documentary, Grown in Detroit, I wrote about a few months back?

It's about Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women, a public high school for pregnant teens and teen moms, and the school's urban farm. In a city where almost 30% of the land is vacant (enough area to fit the city of Boston or San Francisco) this school is teaching these teen moms how to use that land and profit from it. The students grow all sorts of crops from apples to tomatoes, make apple cider, raise goats and bees.

Through their work on the farm the students learn about the importance of healthy food for themselves and their children and are empowered by knowing, no matter what, as long as there is land, they can provide that food by growing it.

The documentary is racking up much deserved awards, and the school is being recognized for it's innovation and achievement. But despite that Catherine Ferguson Academy is among the schools the city of Detroit has decided to close this June due to budget cuts.

I don't even know what to say, I'm just completely heartbroken and outraged. I know the Detroit Public school system has to get smaller to adjust to the city's shrinking population, and I am sure there are students, teachers and parents at each of the schools on the list who don't want their school closed, but Catherine Ferguson is one of only 3 schools in the entire country for pregnant and parenting teens. It is doing so much to help and empower these young women and in turn their children.

And at a time when there is talk of turning the empty parts of Detroit back into farmland, closing a school that empowers young women by teaching them to farm just seems wrong.


Dancing Branflake said...

That is too sad. Not just for the mothers but also for the children of these mothers who will be given a much better life through the education of their mothers. It's ridiculous what things are getting cut and what are not. It's sad that education seems like the first to go.

Sarah C said...

Ugh. I am so fed up with the educational system in our state. And I'm a teacher in a public school system! I work in early intervention, and we are looking at HUGE cuts to our budget next year - cuts that will keep us from helping kids early, which is cost-effective for schools in the long run. Ugh.

I'll have to see this movie. My hubs grew up in northern Detroit, and it holds a special place in our hearts. It breaks my heart that it has fallen to pieces, and cutting this school out will just continue the cycle. Thanks for sharing such an important issue.

Brandi said...

I had no idea Detroit was like this. I'm absolutely speechless. I'm so impressed that a group has taken the initiative to ask what do we need to educate people to know how to do, but I'm so upset that this program is one of the first that will go because of budget cuts. In NJ, they're cutting summer programs to help underprivileged students from local urban communities...but that university will still be paying their football coach millions of dollars each year.

Jayne said...

This is so terrible! This is precisely the type of program we need more of, and I can't believe they are closing it down. I am so frustrated by this, too. These programs teach healthy living, nutrition, and self-sufficiency through sales. What is more valuable than that? Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Let us know if you hear anything about what we can do...