GM Opens Community Urban Garden in Southwest Detroit

General Motors is unveiling Cadillac Urban Gardens on Merritt, a community project where 250 shipping crates from Orion Assembly — home of the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic — are converted into raised garden beds.

The once-abandoned southwest Detroit parking lot will now benefit nearby residents, providing them nutritious and locally grown food.

“Instead of recycling this material, we found a direct reuse, which saves energy and resources,” said John Bradburn, GM’s manager of waste reduction efforts. “We seek opportunities for projects in our backyard that reduce environmental impact and strengthen communities.”

This project is a result of collaboration with eight-time GM Supplier of the Year Ideal Group, and composting company Detroit Dirt. The soil, supplied by Detroit Dirt, is sourced from local partners, including Detroit Zoo animal manure, Astro Café coffee grounds, and composted food scraps from the Marriott Hotel in GM’s world headquarters and GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, home of the Chevy Volt.

Several organizations helped make the project a reality. Detroit Dirt provided urban planning expertise, and Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision created the urban environmental plan; Rush Trucking delivered the GM-donated crates for volunteers from Ideal Group, Congress of Communities, Better Day Ministries and Southwest Detroit residents to begin planting. 

“Our mission is to create a space that promotes the health and security of our community,” said Frank Venegas, Ideal Group chairman. “Cadillac Urban Gardens is producing vegetables, community health and growth.  This vision came true with fast action on the part of our collaborative partners.  In four short months, we are well on our way to linking sustainability with producing community growth.”  

Invitations for Southwest Detroit families and residents to participate in the urban gardening project are facilitated through community partners like Detroit Cristo Rey High School, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Southwest Detroit Business Association and Community Health and Social Services Center. The lot borders a residential neighborhood and Ideal Group.

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