Hamtramck's Hamtown Farms shuts down after it's repeatedly vandalized


Hamtown Farms. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Hamtown Farms.

Hamtramck's Hamtown Farms is shutting down following a series of incidents in which the .75-acre urban farm was vandalized.

Michael Davis, who runs the farm with his husband, Andy Rice, tells Metro Times that about a dozen of Hamtown's fruit trees were destroyed on multiple occasions, the rain collection system was damaged, and they've dealt with other similar issues in recent years.

They pay for the farm out of their own pockets and with small donations, so the cost of repairing the damage coupled with the frustration of having to deal with it led to the decision. Davis says they also chose not to install fencing because Hamtown is a community space, and that would wall it off from the neighborhood around it.

The farm is one of the more welcoming corners of Hamtramck that provides public picking beds along with private beds for Rice and Davis, who got married there a few years ago. They started the farm in 2012, at which time neighborhood kids got involved, but many of those who helped have moved, Davis says. He suspects that they didn't have these problems in the early years because the neighborhood kids had some ownership of Hamtown. The kids that live in the area now haven't shown the same interest.

The news has been a gigantic bummer for many in town. Davis says that people have been getting in touch to let them know how sad they are about the news, but he says he's looking at the positives.

"I've been telling people not to feel sad — the important part is to reflect on the last seven years ... because we did make a difference with that space," he says.

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