Detroit hires first urban agriculture director
Mayor Mike Duggan's office announced the appointment of Tepfirah Rushdan as the city's new director of urban agriculture Monday, joining a handful of cities with that role.
Why it matters: Neighborhood residents want to use Detroit's vast amount of vacant land for more than commercial development.
- Officials said Monday that having an urban agriculture director is a first step in providing more opportunities for residents to start their own urban farms.
State of play: Rushdan will serve as a liaison to the city, relaying issues urban farmers face on the ground. She said Monday she intends to form an advisory committee to help with the process.
Zoom in: Rushdan, 43, who has the word "decolonize" tattooed on her left wrist, is deeply rooted in the local urban farming community.
- She owns a kayak rental company and is a founding member of the Black to the Land Coalition and the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund.
What they're saying: "She has a quiet demeanor, but don't be fooled Mr. Mayor: She will speak truth to power," Kathryn Underwood, who's been involved in local urban agriculture policy for years, said at Monday's press conference.
- "She already has!" a member of Duggan's administration interjected.
Between the lines: Officials say communicating among city departments like BSEED will be a main function of the new position, which is now under the mayor's office.
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