CAMP Ponyride SOUP Winner – August 2012
Created in 2011, Food Field is an urban farm occupying four acres in the BostonEdison neighborhood of Detroit. Business partners Noah Link and Alex Bryan started their company, also known as Peck Produce, with the goal of joining the revitalization of Detroit and the city’s urban agricultural movement. In turn they’re helping to build a more localized food system for residents and businesses. There’s no shortage in diversity of crops at the farm, with harvests including vegetables, fruit trees, honey, catfish and bluegill, hen and duck eggs, and more. In addition to supplying fresh food to local markets and hosting seasonal meals and events, the farm preserves its surplus as pickles, salsa, cider, and other value added products.
Efforts to expand and improve Food Field continue with solar power, an aquaponics system, hiring more staff, and enriching the community through organic practices and food knowledge. The company’s top priority remains to demonstrate that organic, urban agriculture can be economically viable all the while providing fresh, healthy, and delicious food.
What inspired you to start Food Field?
Noah Link: I was inspired by working at a successful organic farm in the area as well as seeing some urban agriculture projects starting in Detroit and the huge potential for farming in this city (mostly unmet yet in 2010). The enthusiasm around urban and organic farming here and commitment from several friends convinced us to start Food Field then.
What is the impact your project has had on Detroit?
We are helping lead the way for organic farming as a business to take root here. There are many people, both longtime and new residents of the city, who are excited about urban farming and our site has helped other farmers get started selling at markets, building hoop houses, finding financing and other startup challenges. We’ve also expanded the options for Detroiters to buy fresh and organic foods and develop a local food economy.
What are the current goals/objectives of your organization?
We are still working to develop all of our land and grow & sell enough to become profitable. Some of our current areas of focus are bringing a new field into production, developing systems for selling wholesale (along with other farmers), opening an onsite weekly cafe, and begin harvesting from our orchard and aquaponics system.
Where do you see Food Field in 5-10 years?
I’d like to see Food Field earning a profit with steady sales through our CSA and other markets. In 5-10 years we will have more systems streamlined and employ more people to run day-to-day growing operations as well as educational programs and outreach in the community.
How was SOUP important or significant to your organization?
SOUP jumpstarted our long, arduous effort to install solar power for the farm (which finally finished this year). The support from SOUP allowed us to purchase needed equipment and also inspired those working on the project.
For more information about Food Field, visit: www.foodfielddetroit.com
– Elaine Stojcevski