Rev. Jesse Jackson scoffs at the idea of urban farming as a way to rejuvenate depressed communities. An article from the Detroit News cites the famous civil rights leader calling urban farming "a 'cute but foolish' concept that won't help repopulate the city."
Jackson calls for a return of industrial jobs to draw people back to the region. The statement came after an announcement that a battery plant would be constructed north of Detroit, and Jackson says that Detroit has a greater need for such a factory.
According to the story, he made his speech right before Mayor Dave Bing planned to speak about urban farming as one part of a solution to "redefine neighborhoods" that have seen a lot of population loss. Jackson counters that urban homesteading is a better solution, encouraging the city to give plots of land to "encourage redevelopment." Jackson fears that turning fallow land into urban farms will drive out even more residents and set the areas up for gentrification.
According to the article, Jackson was in Michigan to start with on a tour promoting "environmentally friendly industry" with the United Auto Workers Union. It's also interesting to note that he had his SUV was stolen while he was in Detroit. The vehicle was later recovered, but with stripped wheels.