We Must Restore Our Relationship With the Earth and Each Other

Repair the World Detroit is honored to partner with community leader Naim Edwards of MSU-Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning and Innovation.

I am establishing an edible forest at the Michigan State University – Detroit Partnership for Food Learning and Innovation. The site is MSU’s first urban agriculture center, and this year we’re planting over 200 fruit and nut trees along with other perennial food crops. The edible forest will serve the community in a variety of ways. It will expose people and create access to an abundance of fruit, nut, and vegetable crops that are not common or affordable in grocery stores and mature plants will yield large volumes of nutrient dense, locally grown produce – increasing food security with crops full of healthy sugars, fats, proteins, vitamins, and antioxidants. Our harvests will be donated to a local food pantry and integrated into our nutrition, cooking, food safety and food preservation classes and there will be opportunities to create value added products like jellies, butters, pies, dried fruits, sauces, etc. The sale of these products will support entrepreneurship and income opportunities and the forest will serve as a gathering space for community events and enhance biodiversity as well. Cumulatively, this effort will foster a more resilient and self-reliant community in Detroit.

I desire to engender a world where people connect with and revere all life. Establishing an edible forest requires proactive cultivation of a diversity of plants; the scale of which requires the cooperation of a community of people. Agriculture has always been a relationship between humans and the land. I am compelled to honor agricultural principles that our ancestors practiced. These principles guided them to care for the earth as a loved one, recognizing that the Earth provides for us. It is critical that we all be reminded that the Earth has limits, we are stressing those limits, and we must restore our relationship with the Earth and each other.

By Naim Edwards Director of MSU-Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning and Innovation

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About the Series

This #BlackHistoryMonth Repair the World is highlighting Black-led orgs, service partners who are advancing and centering Diversity Equity and Inclusion work and prioritizing BIPOC leadership in their orgs, and Black Community Leaders that we serve with across our communities. Our impact would not be possible without them. Our Jewish values of solidarity, achdoot, and strengthening each other, hitchazkut, remind us that nothing is possible without meaningful relationships. Our partners and colleagues are critical to our ability to understand and act thoughtfully. When we lift up, celebrate, and appreciate others, we ultimately work towards a stronger outcome.