Detroit Grows Fruits and Vegetables in 1,200 GM Shipping Crates

Detroit Grows Fruits and Vegetables in 1,200 GM Shipping Crates

For three straight years, GM has contributed to Detroit’s ever-growing urban gardening scene.
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Multimedia from this Release

John Bradburn tends to the urban garden on the roof of the Beaubien place garage in Detroit.

A volunteer with part of the fall harvest from the Buckets of Rain urban garden in Highland Park, Michigan.

Raised garden beds made out of GM shipping crates at the Buckets of Rain urban garden in Highland Park, Michigan.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 3:00pm

CAMPAIGN: GM Waste Reduction


Through the donation of more than 1,200 shipping crates repurposed as raised garden beds, GM is helping turn what was once housing for auto parts into something that holds eggplant, kale, tomatoes, peppers, basil and more.

Harvest time presents an opportunity to reflect on how the movement has expanded and recognize the various organizations feeding the hungry, growing Detroit’s green economy, and bringing neighborhoods together through healthy and accessible food.

Cadillac Urban Gardens

In early August, we returned to Cadillac Urban Gardens for a garden party organized by Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision. The effort helped create more opportunities for community engagement and awareness for this expansive garden sitting on a once-vacant lot in Southwest Detroit.

Cadillac Urban Gardens was GM’s entre into urban gardening—a result of a brainstorm with supplier Ideal Group on how to best manage our metal shipping crates. Instead of recycling the metal for revenue, GM sought out a direct reuse that could positively benefit the community. Ideal not only had the vision of the raised beds, but they donated the space and continue to maintain the gardens with the help of neighborhood residents.

Now in its third summer, the gardens continue to breathe new life into the community.

Buckets of Rain

In September, GM donated 400 more crates to Buckets of Rain for a total of 860 raised beds situated in a once-vacant lot in Highland Park. This expansive garden supports soup kitchens like Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and Cass Community Social Services.

Our employees and suppliers also believe in the project and donated their own time to help the site double in size and impact.  In a couple of days, 57 volunteers cleared brush, removed trash, painted the new shipping crates to protect from rust, and harvested fall vegetables.

Rebecca Peplinski, a GM purchasing program agent, volunteered her time.

“I have a personal sense of pride seeing this garden take shape and knowing that General Motors donated the containers that made it all possible,” she said. “This was a unique volunteer opportunity that speaks to me on many levels – from helping everyone get access to fresh fruits and vegetables to spending time getting to know my peers and the Detroit community.”

Beaubien Rooftop Garden

We’ve partnered with Detroit Dirt on many of these urban garden projects and its compost makes fruits and vegetables flourish.

Our continued collaboration led to a new composting operation helping us continually improve on the GM Renaissance Center’s landfill-free status.

Starting with Andiamo Riverfront collecting its coffee grounds and vegetable scraps in April, we’ve since expanded initiative to include 20 other restaurants and a flower shop. The result: 36,000 pounds of food turned into nutrient-rich compost in just six months.

That food goes full circle, feeding an urban garden comprised of 16 GM crates on the top of the Renaissance Center’s Beaubien parking garage – a location seen by the 15,000 daily visitors to the complex when they ride on the glass elevators.

The harvest of tomatoes, basil, eggplant and more goes back to Andiamo, who then donates to a warming center across the street serving Detroit’s homeless community.