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Detroit Explores Soil Remediation as New Urban Agriculture Frontier

Detroit Explores Soil Remediation as New Urban Agriculture Frontier

Believe it or not, Theodore Kozerski’s garden experiment began as an archaeological dig.

The Row House, located on Sixth Street between Porter and Labrosse, is the oldest remaining building in the neighborhood and once served as a tenement for local laborers. Wayne State University teamed up with the owner of the building, the Greater Corktown Development Corporation (GCDC), on the dig in 2006. Their goal was to learn more about the immigrants who began arriving in Detroit in the 1830s.

After the excavation, Wayne State University planned to turn the area into a small park. However, the effort stalled when Jon Brewster, the student who drew up the plans to rehabilitate the dig site, lost interest in the project.

In 2011 Kozerski, a senior anthropology undergraduate at Wayne State, heard from his professor, Dr. Tom Killion, about a now vacant excavation site at the Workers’ Row House in Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood.

Kozerski thought it had potential to be more than a park; he saw it as a garden for soil remediation. That’s the name given to a variety of methods used to purify soil by ridding it of toxins.

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