(GM) Shipping Crates Become Detroit Garden Beds

Earth 911 notes a parking lot turned paradise: GM turns used shipping crates into garden beds to provide food for Detroit’s southwest neighborhoods. Photo: John F. Martin for General Motors

Locally grown food and garden reuse might not typically be ideas associated with a car brand, but on August 1, General Motors unveiled a community garden that promotes just that.

For the project, dubbed the “Cadillac Urban Gardens on Merritt,” GM brought in 250 shipping crates to be repurposed into garden beds that will grow fresh, local food in a formerly abandoned parking lot in southwest Detroit.

“Instead of recycling this material, we found a direct reuse, which saves energy and resources,” says John Bradburn, GM’s manager of waste reduction efforts, in a press release. “We seek opportunities for projects in our backyard that reduce environmental impact and strengthen communities.”

Soil was provided by local company Detroit Dirt, which includes manure sourced from Detroit Zoo, coffee grounds from Astro Café and composted food scraps from GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and a local Marriott Hotel.

Detroit residents can participate in the community gardening project through several community partners like high schools, local organizations and social services centers.

“Our mission is to create a space that promotes the health and security of our community,” says Frank Venegas, Ideal Group chairman, in a press release. “Cadillac Urban Gardens is producing vegetables, community health and growth. This vision came true with fast action on the part of our collaborative partners. In four short months, we are well on our way to linking sustainability with producing community growth.”

It’s all a part of GM’s ongoing commitment to reducing waste. In June, the automobile manufacturer announced its one hundredth landfill-free facility and an intention to reduce its waste by another 10 percent by 2020.