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Mayor names Tepfirah Rushdan as City's first Director of Urban Agriculture

2023
  • Longtime urban farming activist most recently served as Co-Director of Keep Growing Detroit
  • Rushdan will be administration’s partner with urban farming community
  • Creation of new position a result of community conversations regarding Mayor’s Land Value Tax proposal

Mayor Mike Duggan today introduced longtime urban farming activist Tepfirah Rushdan as the City’s first-ever Director of Urban Agriculture, working directly out of the Mayor’s office. In her new position, Rushdan will serve as a liaison to the urban farming community and will help shape city policy regarding urban farming.

The new position in the administration came as a direct result of a series of meetings the Mayor held with members of the urban agriculture community as part of the process of developing his Land Tax Proposal. Another result of those meetings was land being used for urban agriculture being exempted from the increased tax on land.

“The urban agriculture community is doing incredible work in Detroit and as demand increases for land in the city, it became clear we needed someone who understands these issues in our administration to support their work,” said Mayor Duggan. “Tepfirah has been one of the leading voices and activists in the urban agriculture movement and is the perfect person to help make sure the city is helping to support this important segment of our local economy and environment.”

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Detroit's first-ever Director of Urban Agriculture Tepfirah Rushdan.

 

A longtime community farming activist and resident of Detroit’s Greenacres neighborhood, Rushdan most recently served as co-director of Keep Growing Detroit, an organization that helps to support urban farming through educational programs and by growing and distributing starter crops community gardens and households to encourage the consumption of locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Rushdan has also held a seat on The Detroit Food Policy Council and served as the director of Urban Agriculture for The Greening of Detroit. She currently serves as a board advisor to several community projects and over the years has used her extensive knowledge to support and educate hundreds of urban farmers throughout the City of Detroit. The Black Farmer Land Fund, an organization co-established by Tepfirah, provides Black urban farmers with capital infusions for land and infrastructure. Rushdan’s passion for both her community and the environment is reflected not only in her entrepreneurial achievements but also through her community outreach which ranges from youth and adult farmer training programs to outdoor therapy and climate change resiliency research.

City's first Director of Urban Agriculture pic2
Mayor Duggan shares that the choice to select Tepfirah as the Director of Urban Agriculture was unanimous amongst the urban farming community.

 

Detroit joins Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC, in hiring a director of urban agriculture. Rushdan thanked the Mayor for creating this new role in his administration to support the growing urban agriculture community in Detroit.

“To create a position like this within the city solely for urban agriculture is a bold move and speaks volumes about the Mayor’s commitment to urban farms and really all land-based projects,” Rushdan said. “There are so many people and organizations doing amazing work in this space and I hope to use my position to support their efforts and promote the benefits of a strong local food system.  

Rushdan started her new position on September 5. 

City's first Director of Urban Agriculture pic3
Longtime urban agriculture advocates Kathryn Underwood and Malik Yakini share their admiration for Director of Urban Agriculture Tepfirah Rushdan.