The garden party fundraiser at Cadillac Urban Gardens, was held August 7th at the Cadillac Urban Gardens 4600 Merritt Street.
The event featured food prepared by local chefs, beer, wine, music, raffles and tours through the garden.
All proceeds went to support SDEV’s work to improve the environmental conditions in Southwest Detroit.
With Bert’s Friends Jazz Orchestra playing beautifully in the background, the personable Esteban Castro of Esto’s Garage, (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Estos-Garage/232888700192669?sk=info), chef and SDEV Board member, served patrons his fresh, made to order Mexican culinary creations with a smile, while Robert Boekema of St. Cici’s, (http://www.stceces.com), showed his skills as a vegetarian chef in the form of summer squash flan and arugula salads with heirloom tomato and balsamic vinegar. The unique creations of M*A*S*H, Detroit’s Mashed Potato Pop-Up, (https://www.facebook.com/MashDetroit), hit it out of the park with fried mashed potato balls that had attendees coming back for more.
George Davis, SDEV President and 9 year member of the project, sat down and spoke with me about the garden’s history. First planted in May, 2012, it sits upon the former Executive parking lot of the old G.M. Cadillac Clark Street plant. The bins used for the raised beds were once containers for auto parts shipped in from Korea. John Bradburn, Waste Reduction Manager at General Motors brought them to Frank Venegas Jr., founder, chairman, and CEO of Ideal Group who saw them as a way to create a walk-in community garden, now a viable resource for community youth groups, seniors, and neighbors.
Sylvia Gucken, who works just across the street as the Assistant to the Chairman at The Ideal Group, has been a huge part of the garden and its tenders since its inception. Hailed as one of Channel 7’s Detroit 20/20 Persons Of The Week in 2013, Sylvia is “the driving force behind the Cadillac Urban Garden”. She is particularly proud of the growth of character that the garden has given children. “I’ve watched 9 year-old students [develop into] leaders mentoring the younger ones,” Gucken stated. She has watched the children grow with the garden since the Scarcyny Park Garden was created in 2011.
Sarah Clark, Program Director at SDEV, designed the gardens with another use in mind. The first garden, the Scercyny Park Garden, is perennial and recreational. When the land of the industrial lot was deemed unsuitable to grow vegetables, the bins were the perfect solution. “My favorite part of the garden is the reuse of the tires and objects that the community brings in. Every organization brings in their own special touch.” Clark said.
To find out more about upcoming events and the SDEV, visit www.sdevweb.org or call (313) 842-1961
Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision PO Box 9400, Detroit MI 48209 SDEVweb.email@example.com
Reporter: Cathleen Francios