Learning from Detroit: Revitalize green

Learning from Detroit: Revitalize green

Some insight from our Director of Insight, Karen Barnes:

Here’s an idea that’s captured my imagination this week: turning the deserted, desolate urban Detroit landscape into a farm. Yes, you read that correctly – a farm. urban_agriculture.top

The Motor City’s seen its share of misery – more than half its citizens have moved out, houses are selling for $15,000, and the glory days of the auto industry seem like distant memories. One recent article estimated that 40 acres of land inside Detroit’s city limits now stands abandoned.

So what’s a sustainable model for rebuilding and revitalizing a once-great city? Millionaire investor John Hantz thinks he’s on to something. His vision is to create multiple 300-acre farm “pods” throughout the city. And he’s willing to invest $30 million as seed money. His hope is that the first site will be sown this spring. To read more about Hantz’s vision, click here for the recent Fortune magazine article.

Detroit has a rich history as a pioneer in urban farming. More than 900 urban gardens, most of them very small, now dot the landscape, providing fresh fruit and vegetables to residents in a city where there’s no major chain grocery store. These gardens also provide something that satisfies another hunger – meaningful work for scores of unemployed people.

So what all this have to do with marketing? Like Detroit, we all know brands that were once great and have lost their way. Can these brands be revitalized with a new sustainability twist? Can these dimming brands find new life when they’re re-imagined as green? What brands or products in your portfolio could use a refresh? How can you turn that brand product on its head and re-introduce it with a new, sustainable life?

Here’s to a new year, a re-energized Detroit and new sustainable ideas for your brand and product portfolio.

About the Author

Karen Barnes

Karen is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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