"I never had a dream of being an urban farmer, or farming really, until I started feeding people."
That's what Kimberley Buffington says about the transformation that led her to start a non-profit and in turn a for-profit urban farm.
12 years ago, while working in the pastorate of a suburban church, she began to wonder why they were doing mission-work in South America, but nothing closer to home. Through a friend who worked at Trader Joes, she began picking up donated food from one of its stores each week.
Over a decade later, Buffington and those she works with make these pickups daily and provide fresh produce to around 400 Detroit families every week as part of the program Eden Gives.
She eventually realized, however, that just providing food wasn't solving the underlying problem of food insecurity. The economics of the city still made it hard for many Detroiters to travel to good markets or afford the food sold there. Being dependent on the largesse of big companies or out-of-state farms wasn’t exactly a path to food security either.
Buffington imagined that by growing produce herself she could help provide jobs and establish another local food source. "It creates food security in our community," she says. "We don't have to ship our lettuce from the Central Valley of California."