As a vision coalesces to revitalize Detroit, it is apparent that the arts and horticulture will play vital and linked roles in transforming the landscape of the city.
The new Creative Arts Center in southwest Detroit expresses this exciting vision. The building, near the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, was an abandoned police station. Southwest Solutions renovated the building, overcoming numerous funding, environmental and construction challenges to repurpose the structure into a valuable community asset that will also help spur further development in the area.
DFG opened for business at the Creative Arts Center at the beginning of April. It provides quality gardening, farming and landscape supplies – including seeds, soil and growing media, fertilizer, mulch, pest control, animal feed, tools, and more. DFG emphasizes all-natural materials and sustainable practices. Supplies can be delivered for a small fee.
“The driving force of our business is to be a resource to the community,” says Jeff Klein, owner of DFG. “We intend to do this not only through the products we offer, but by playing an educative role about thoughtfully interacting with the earth.”
DFG has five employees and promotes a team environment where everyone feels a sense of ownership. All of the staff members are knowledgeable about the products and their uses.
“We hope to help inspire and empower people to take control of the physical landscape in ways that are good for the community,” says Jen Rusciano, a master gardener and DFG employee.
In its first month of operation, business has met expectations and now is picking up as news gets around about DFG’s products and services. Consumer word-of-mouth is generating a buzz. The Metro Times recently named DFG “Best new retail addition” in its Best of 2012 list.
DFG is benefiting, too, from the convenient location of the Creative Arts Center, which is situated both at the convergence of major freeways from the Gateway project and at the entrance of the vibrant Vernor Highway commercial corridor.
“We could not ask for a better spot,” Jeff says. “It is highly accessible and visible.”
The renovation and repurposing of the building has also worked well for DFG, accommodating all of its distinctive needs and still providing room to expand.
One of its next structural improvements at the building will be the construction of a green roof that will catch water and store it for re-use. The project is funded through a $75,000 grant from the Erb Family Foundation.
For more information about Detroit Farm and Garden, visit its website or call 313.655.2344.The address is:
DFG is open weekdays 8AM-7PM; Saturday 8AM-5PM; and Sunday 10AM-3PM