Week 5: The Accessibility of Nature – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 5: The Accessibility of Nature

As someone who has an interest in the environment, specifically human relationship to the environment, it has been rewarding to physically be in an urban green space and develop my understanding of food security and sovereignty. Keep Growing Detroit’s basis is built on those principles, and as I go on the farm and help with transplanting crops and harvesting summer vegetables, my perspective of not only farming but the environment as a whole has led me to question the true “accessibility” of nature. 

Over recent decades, it is clear that nature has now become a thing of luxury, a getaway for those to spend money on nature retreats, thousands of dollars for hiking and climbing equipment. The commercialization of nature as a whole has created a socioeconomic barrier that bars lower classes from fully participating in it. Expensive wilderness retreats have transformed the simplicity of nature into a consumer item. Off-grid living, van life, and wilderness treks are key essentials for the rich person who wants to take a break from ‘reality’. Nature, as ever expanding and all around us as it is, has now taken the form of a product. 

That is why urban green spaces such as Keep Growing Detroit are of such importance. The access of nature to those of different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds is important for physical, health, and mental benefits. Many times, urban green spaces are located in only predominantly white affluent areas, while lower income minority communities often are neglected of parks, playgrounds, and other essential green spaces that are to the health of a community. It is a paradox that nature is becoming ‘exclusive’ even though it encompasses us all around.

Nature, and the food produced in nature, is essential to community, creation, and culture. KGD’s mission of food sovereignty and accessibility shows the importance of equitable green spaces that benefit the community.

3 thoughts on “Week 5: The Accessibility of Nature”

  1. Claire Thomson

    Hi Chinwe, this is incredibly insightful. I think your observations tie into the general loss of third places in America, as it has become increasingly difficult to find public, communal spaces. The work that Keep Growing Detroit is doing to restore access to green spaces and the food they produce is really amazing!

  2. Hi Chinwe! I absolutely love this post and the way you break down the importance of accessible and equitable green spaces and nature. Unfortunately, I witness nature being seen for its economic value over its inherent social, visual, and sustainable values. I love the work that your organization is doing and I can’t wait to hear more about urban farms in Detroit and how to support them!

  3. Chinwe, I completely agree with you and this reminds me of my own fellowship as we have tried to open up the city public park spaces and make it a third space for people of all socio-economic backgrounds even with its growing modernity. I think it is interesting to see the commercialization of spaces and I wonder if that must be stopped for nature and places of nature like parks, especially in the cities, to become accessible once again for everyone.

Comments are closed.

lsa logoum logo