Erb Foundation Pledges $1 Million for Urban Farming Project in Detroit

The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation in Bloomfield Hills has announced a $1 million grant over four years in support of an urban farming project in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reports.

If approved, the project, RecoveryPark, would occupy approximately twenty acres on the city's east side. When the park is completed, recovering addicts will grow food and raise fish at the now-vacant industrial site, with crops grown year-round in greenhouse-like hoop houses. City officials have been studying the proposal since 2009. The grant will pay salaries and other administrative costs associated with the project and provide seed capital for the park.

RecoveryPark is the brainchild of Gary Wozniak, a former stockbroker and recovering addict who is director of development for SHAR, a nonprofit addiction recovery agency on Detroit's west side. Wozniak, who estimates the project will require $15 million in startup funds, told the Free Press that the grant will help raise that money.

"We know urban agriculture is not going to be the total solution for the resurgence of Detroit," said John Erb, president of the foundation. "But we see it as a component."

John Gallagher. "Erb Foundation Pledges $1 Million for Proposed RecoveryPark Farm in Detroit." Detroit Free Press 04/20/2012.