Vacant lot in May 2010 Urbandale Farm in August 2010
Urbandale is a thirty-square block neighborhood on Lansing’s Eastside bounded by Kalamazoo Ave on the north, I-496 on the south, I-127 to the east, and S. Clemens Ave to the west. As a neighborhood, it has many assets. It is home to an ethnically diverse population of residents, many who own their own homes and have lived in the neighborhood for generations. The quiet streets are filled with young children who play outdoors throughout the summer, and the neighborhood is graced with mature trees and green, open space.
Urbandale neighborhood also faces challenges. The area has been labeled a food desert. Liquor stores and convenience stores are within easy walking distance, but with 20% of households without cars, the closest grocery store is a mile and a half away across several major intersections and a state freeway. About ¼ of the homes on S. Hayford Ave, the location of Urbandale Farm, are empty, abandoned, or red-tagged. The neighborhood lies within the heart of Lansing’s 100-year flood plain, and FEMA has placed restrictions on development, further depressing real estate values.
Awareness of Urbandale’s strengths and challenges, combined with a desire to expand food production within the Eastside of Lansing, led to the formation of the Lansing Urban Farm Project (LUFP) by Laura DeLind and Linda Anderson, Co-Directors of the project.