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Image of Cornell Kofi Royal

© Gilles Perrin http://www.gilles-perrin.com/

Cornell Kofi Royal
Master Gardener, Artist Village

I was a copywriter and ended up being an account executive in New York. And then I came here. They only had that one little garden and it was looking really pitiful. So I was trying to find some way to fit in, something to do. So I started doing the gardens.

We’ve got a melon farm that’s not far, about a mile and a half from here. We’re going to try to do a permaculture site—permanent agriculture. Creating a forest and then growing in the forest. It cuts down the need to water, the need to weed. You know, in a way, you sort of create an alliance or relationship with nature as the grower. You’re really following nature’s lead.

Personally I think for me, it’s to try to create a model of how cities ought to be, how urban places ought to be. To me, the ideal urban community would have a lot of vest-pocket farms, gardens . . . where vegetables and produce were being grown not so much for a mass market thing, but just to cool people out, bring about some sense of neighborhood, as a meeting place, as well as offsetting some of the cost of food. I could see Detroit as having these little vest-pocket farms or gardens all over; it would make an interesting contrast to what cities have traditionally become.

From June 6, 2012, interview