By Frank Venegas, CEO & Chairman, Ideal Group
I am proud to say that we – along with our many partners, including General Motors – officially unveiled our community urban garden, Cadillac Urban Gardens.
Our vision was to create a space to serve as a tribute to our neighboring Southwest Detroit community; we want to showcase their pride, resiliency and strength. Our garden achieves that, and more. It provides the neighborhood a positive community-togetherness experience, and nutritious and locally grown food.
This ongoing project is made possible with the tireless work of a number of organizations, businesses and urbanites, all coming together to breathe new life into the Motor City.
GM’s role in this garden has been impactful. John Bradburn, GM’s manager of waste reduction efforts, came to us and proposed we reuse their shipping crates from its Orion Assembly for use as raised garden beds. GM wanted to find a way to recycle this material, and together, we found a direct reuse that saves energy and resources. From there, it’s all history.
To date, GM has donated 250 shipping crates.
Several additional organizations helped make the project a reality. Detroit Dirt provided urban planning expertise, and Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision created the urban environmental plan; Rush Trucking delivered the GM-donated crates for volunteers from Ideal Group companies, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Detroit Cristo Rey High School and Southwest Detroit residents to begin planting.
The soil, supplied by Detroit Dirt, is sourced from local partners, including Detroit Zoo animal manure, Astro Café coffee grounds, and composted food scraps from the Marriott Hotel in GM’s world headquarters and GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, home of the Chevy Volt.
We’re so thankful for the collective community support for making our vision a reality.