Eid Celebration on the Urban Farm near downtown Detroit: A Day for the Children
Author: Basheer Alim
C.R.I.T.E.R.I.O.N. (Community Resource Institute to Empower Residence in our Neighborhood), an organization within Historical Masjid Wali Muhammad, was a cosponsor of 2019’s Eid-Al-Fitr celebration. This non-profit, urban farm is location in a formerly blighted neighborhood 2.5 miles from the Masjid. Its purpose is to grow nutritious vegetables, bee keeping, raising goats and egg laying chickens, according to its president Naim Muslim Sabir. The organization has already planted 34 fruit trees, including apple, pear, peach and plum trees.
The 2019 Eid-Al-Fitr celebration included great bar-b-que and pot-luck food, fun and games, and music for the adults. For children, face painting by a number of talented Muslim Artist, horseback and pony rides were provided, and a petting zoo which included rabbits, goats, turkeys, and ducks. This was a rare opportunity for urban children to farm life in their neighborhood. Over 400 people attended the celebration over the course of the Saturday afternoon. Many neighbor resident were as first just curious about the event but eventually joined the community celebration.
C.R.I.T.E.R.I.O.N. has formed alliances with churches, manufacturers, public schools, professionals, block clubs and other urban farms in the Detroit areas. Because of the city’s focus on removing abandoned and blighted buildings, some of these 80,000 lots were available for sale for as little as $100 per lot under the Detroit Land Bank. C.R.I.T.E.R.I.O.N.’s initial purchase was 9 lots which has grown to 21 lots today. The goal is to have a fully operational farm by the end of 2019, InSha Allah.
Over the last two years, the alliance of Detroit block clubs and urban farming groups has had over 20,000 volunteer; boarded up over 1,018 vacant homes; cleaned out 102 alleys; and planted over 700 trees. Another goal during August 2019 is to clean 4 square miles to finish the neighborhood alley. In addition to his role as C.R.I.T.E.R.I.O.N. president, Naim Muslim Sabir is a member of several other community groups and on the advisory board of others. Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and the city council has been directly involved with supporting this community based inner-city revitalization effort.