MSU Extension and MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center offer race, food, & land in Detroit lecture series

Learn more about the African American experience in relation to land access and food sovereignty in Detroit.

A look inside a greenhouse vegetable garden
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The MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center’s recurring lecture series, Evenings in the Garden, is presenting a three-part series on race, food, and land in Detroit. Across the U.S., black farmers and communities face major barriers related to farmland acquisition and achieving food sovereignty. These issues often go unseen and need to be discussed. MSU Extension and MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center will be facilitating the series to highlight past, present, and future projections of race relations in Detroit and how race has impacted land acquisition and food sovereignty.

Each session will consist of a team of MSU Extension facilitators joined by panelists from across the Detroit food system landscape to share their lived and learned experiences. Registration fees, minus the cost of stipends for the panelists, will go toward initiatives that support the needs of black/African American farmers in Detroit.

  • Register at
  • Individual sessions are $10 each or $25 for all three
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Sessions will be held via Zoom with a link provided upon registration
  • Each session is eligible for two hours of continuing education for Extension Master Gardeners
  • If you would like to attend but are unable to contribute financially, scholarships are available for qualifying participants on a first-come-first-serve basis. Please contact Jamie Rahrig with the Michigan Good Food Fund to see if you qualify for a scholarship

July 30, The History of Urban Agriculture and Racism in Detroit

  • Gain a clear and accurate historical overview of how race relations in Detroit impacted land acquisition and the food system
  • Highlight and uplift historical black/African American voices regarding lived experiences in relation to race, land, and food within Detroit

August 27, Present-Day Food Sovereignty and Equitable Food Access in Detroit

  • Learn about Detroit-based organizations doing urban agricultural work to strengthen food access and food sovereignty
  • Examine social, economic, and political barriers to land ownership and equitable food access

September 24, Envisioning the Future of Food and Farming in Detroit

  • Articulate action items that can support the work of grassroots organizations within Detroit tackling the issues food, land, and racial equity
  • Envision what needs to change, grow, or "be weeded out" to bring forth food sovereignty in Detroit

MSU Extension Session Facilitators

  • Alondra Alvizo- MSU Product Center Innovation Counselor
  • Naim Edwards- Director of the Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning, and Innovation
  • Mike Mathis- Director of MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center 

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