Courtney Wise Randolph writes about Detroit’s movers and shakers for Detour Detroit. Once a month, she stops by CultureShift to chat with a notable Detroiter. This month, she talks with the co-founders of Black Bottom Garden Center, a new co-op in Detroit’s North End.
The space is called the Black Bottom Garden Center to pay homage to its fertile black soil and also the invigorating energy that vibrated in the former Detroit Black Bottom neighborhood — where the streets were lined with Black-owned businesses and rich music, and nights were filled with celebration before eventually being razed in the 1960s and turned into part of the I-375 freeway.
Listen: The co-founders of Black Bottom Garden Center discuss the prominence of growing your own food.
Located in the North End, the garden center was founded by six Black women and friends who are involved in the neighborhood’s urban farming community. Together, Jerry Hebron, Carol Trowell, Laura Allen, Imani Foster, Djenaba Ali and Marya Ferguson are actively elevating healthy resources in the community, connecting with people and being instrumental in the economic growth in Detroit neighborhoods.
“We’re going strong,” says Trowell, co-founder of the co-op and longtime plant grower. “We started out with flowers, now we’re going into the annuals and then the fall. We’re growing [and] it’s important to know that yeah, ladies can run businesses and we are doing very well.”
Ali adds, “Spiritually, it’s us connecting back to nature. You feel proud growing your own food and seeing results.”