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.