Much attention has been given to the issue of urban blight in Detroit over the course of the city’s recent history. However, with an influx of interest and investment in downtown Detroit, that narrative is changing. From old high-rise buildings turned downtown micro-lofts to the ever evolving face of Detroit’s riverfront, symbols of Detroit’s revitalization can be found throughout the city.


For all the good things that come with these cutting edge innovations and renewed interest in urban living, perhaps one of the most important is the investment in public green spaces and urban farming. 

For communities of color in particular, vigilance and commitment to food justice and the safeguarding of natural resources is especially vital. To that end, the Detroit-based beekeepers known as the Detroit Hives have made it their personal mission to ensure that the ecological and economic benefits of urban agriculture are inclusive.

“The suburbs and affluent areas shouldn’t be the only areas that have beautiful mutliuse green space, urban farms, access to fresh produce, and an understanding and embracing of nature. Everyone should be able to have those kinds of experiences,” said Keith Crispen, Director of Detroit Hives.

Founded in 2017, the Detroit Hives have taken abandoned vacant lots in the city and transformed them into honeybee farms all while employing local residents, creating service initiatives, and helping expand the environmental consciousness of their community.

Photo: Detroit Hives

“Since we purchased that first lot, we’ve seen a lot of people  in the community start caring about their environment,” said Timothy Paule, Detroit Hives co-founder. 

Check out the snippet below of a panel discussion from a recent Men of Courage Barbershop Forum and watch the Detroit Hives talk on the importance of agriculture, food justice and environmental consciousness in Detroit’s revitalization.

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