Week 8: Interview with Naim Edwards – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 8: Interview with Naim Edwards

This week I interviewed my site director Naim Edwards about his inspiration for the DPFLIs project this year which is the food forest. This project will establish an edible forest at the DPFLI by will planting around 200 fruit and nut trees to increase access and community familiarity with a variety of crops. Over time, these plants will provide locally produced, nutrient-dense foods high in healthy sugars, carbs, fats, and proteins. Naim got his inspiration for the food forest from his time in the Peace Corps. During a trip to Ecuador, he stayed in a small town that had an abundance of fruit trees lining the streets. People walking by could climb up and pick the fruit whenever they wanted resulting in fruit having extremely low prices at markets. So low that even homeless people could afford to buy filling meals every day. Naim noticed that this kind of environment doesn’t exist in the US; all our food is grown in rural areas that are separated from towns where people live so the only place people regularly interact with produce is in grocery stores. Naim’s goal is to increase the Brightmoor community’s interactions with their food and make fresh fruit and nuts more accessible. I think the edible food forest when it is fully grown, will improve the DPFLIs’ connection with the community and further increase the reach of MSU extension.

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