REGISTER FOR THE NATURAL HEALTH TOUR
Whenever Soul Delights has a Natural Health Tour, you can register here. Check back for future tour dates.
“Detroit is the capital of agricultural gardens,” said Malik Yakini, executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) that operates the urban farm, D-Town Farm, in Detroit’s Rouge Park. This was one of two sites that tourists on the second Soul Delights Natural Health Tour visited on Saturday, April 26, 2014, learned about Detroit’s distinction and other little known and general facts about urban gardening in Detroit.
Yakini discussed Detroit’s early agricultural years, mentioning how Detroit Mayor Hazen “Potato Patch” Pingree in the 1890s began urban farming by gaining access to and planting seeds on empty city lots and convincing rich landowners to share their land with the poor so they could grow food. He also shared how many of the city’s black residents who migrated from the south brought their agricultural heritage with them by planting vegetable gardens.
“This city is 83% black so we should be in charge of some things,” who unashamedly boasts that the focus of D-Town Farm is economic empowerment in the black community. The farm, unlike “guerilla gardens,” plots of city-owned land that residents seize and plant as their own, has a lease from the City of Detroit and is funded through grants, including a $750,000 one that DBCFSN received from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Tourists learned about the science behind composting, the reasons you don’t plant the same plant in the same space for consecutive years and how hoop houses extend the growing season. “I’ve been gardening for years, but I even learned something,” said tourist Maxine Weedon. She not only gained insight from D-Town Farm but also the other urban farm on the Natural Health Tour, the Central Detroit Christian (CDC) Farm and Fishery.
Here tourists witnessed the operation of the CDC aquaculture system of aquaponics, growing produce and aquatic animals together in a re-circulating system. Anthony Hatigner, CDC garden production manager, explained how the water from the tilapia fish tanks is filtered and then provides nutrients to the soil-less plants growing on raised beds in this two-story operation on the city’s North End. The farm and fishery provides various salad greens and herbs, especially basil, to area restaurants and grocery stores. Only open since October 2013, the farm and fishery has yet to have a full growing season for the fish, which takes nine months. The plan is to sell fish to local restaurants.
“The Natural Health Tour was an informative and interactive experience,” said Nicole Washington, one of the tourists. “Detroit has many resources that we don’t use or even know exist. That’s what this tour is all about: nutrition, location & information for a healthy you. It was amazing.”
The tour to urban farms followed the first tour, in October 2013, to healthy foods spots in Midtown Detroit. The purpose of the tour is to connect local residents with local resources to attain and maintain their health naturally. Check back in Spring 2015 for the next Soul Delights Natural Health Tour.
Natural health is all the rage and so needed, but the choices and time to achieve good health naturally can be overwhelming. To assist natural health seekers, Soul Delights LLC hosted its first Natural Health Tour on Saturday, October 5, 2013, in Midtown Detroit to give people resources to simplify their choices so they can consistently do their body good.
A van transported the group of half a dozen to a bakery, natural food store, a raw juice retailer and a fresh food caterer and wholesaler. For three hours guests toured these businesses, learned of their history and operations and sampled foods from each establishment. Soul Delights gave gift cards to some tourists who answered trivia questions and to others simply for attending.
“I loved learning about all the wonderful healthy food places and businesses in Detroit,” said Phyllis McKay of Detroit, who won a gift card to Drought Juice. On Facebook she announced she “had a wonderful afternoon with Rhonda J. Smith at her Natural Health Tour. She took us to some really nice shops and restaurant that offer healthier food choices right in the city of Detroit. Places I did not even know existed. Who knew a health tour could be so much fun! Looking forward to the next adventure!”
Ruth Y. Robinson, also of Detroit, echoed McKay’s sentiments: “I am so impressed with the tour.” At nearly every stop, Robinson, who received a gift card to Goodwell’s Natural Foods Market, said, “I am having such a good time.” Based on Soul Delights offerings, including the health tour, Robinson believes “Soul Delights can help me build consistency in the right types of foods in my diet.”
Your Fast for Life™ veteran Ajene Gailliard of Shelby Township, MI said she joined the tour to learn about what retail options were available for natural health and food products, but the tour “surpassed my expectations. I gained more than I thought I would.” She noted that she thought tourists would remain on the van while the guide talked about a few places as they drove by, but “it was much more intimate and one-on-one,” she said.
Other guests received gift cards to Avalon International Breads, who boasts using 100% organic flour in all its products. The first stop on the tour was the offices of Fresh Corner Café, a business that sells its fresh salads, wraps and fruit cups to gas stations and grocery stores in Detroit so folks in urban areas have access to fresh food fast.
McKay said the tour “was excellent” and Gailliard said “I loved all the places we visited,” but both said they would add more places in the tour. Soul Delights planned to offer a tour once or twice a year but based on demand of tourists, the tour may occur quarterly. Stay tuned for when the next tour will be.