Detroit Urban Sustainability Training

10 Days in Detroit learning Urban Sustainability from Detroiters living it.

Dates for DUST Workshops Summer of 2011

June 1st to 10th
June 20th to 30th
July 10th to 20th
August 1st to 10th
August 20th to 30th

DUST is an intensive hands-on immersion course in urban sustainability, grass-roots community building, and community arts. Spend ten days in Detroit visiting Urban Farms, Gardens, Local Green Businesses, Green Building Projects, Public Art Works, and Community Art Galleries while learning about composting, worm farming, urban chickens, bee-keeping, natural building methods with local materials, water collection, grey water systems, bioremediation, and creating local food systems.

DUST is located in North Corktown at Spirit Farm. Spirit Farm hosted hundreds of people during the 2010 US Social Forum. Every summer Spirit Farm hosts visiting youth interested in learning about Urban Farming and Food Justice.

To Enroll

10 days in Detroit lodging, food, and the lecture and workshop series cost 1000 dollars. Sliding Scale for low income people. Write a note requesting discount. Some work exchange is possible with a written letter explaining your skill set and what you wish to trade.
A 100 dollar deposit is required to hold your spot. Payment is due in full before or on the first day of workshop.
Use paypal, check or money order.

If you would like to donate to DUST, you can use paypal, check or money order:

Make checks and money orders out to:
Spirit of Hope
in the memo put, "for DUST"


Snail mail: DUST C/O Spirit of Hope
1519 Martin Luther King Blvd
Detroit, Mi. 48208

Phone: 313.598.3720

Space is Limited

Lodging and meals are provided along with course materials.
There are a few Scholarships available, first preference goes to Detroiters, then Michiganders. Send an Essay as to why you want to spend 10 days learning Urban Sustainability in Detroit, what skill you have and those you wish to learn. Send Essays by May 1st, 2011. Good Luck!

DUST is Facilitated by:

a collective of community farmers, organizers, artists, chefs, premaculture educators, yoga teachers, massage therapists, Reiki Masters, local food crafters, and media makers. You can read about some of them in the following articles, webpages, and facebook pages.
Brother Nature Produce
Detroit Evoltion
An article from City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture
Photos of the new hoop house at Spirit Farm
Spirit Farm on the Corktown Connection
The Flower Power Project
Another article about Spirit Farm in the Corktown Connection
Goat Farm in Detroit
Spirit of Hope in The Record
Zoning for Urban Farming in Detroit
Video interview with Kate Devlin
Video interview with Pastor Matthew Bode

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I receive a Permaculture Certificate by attending DUST?
"Why does DUST cost so much; it’s only Detroit after all?
What is a Detroit Experience?
Can I bring my pets or children?
Is DUST like a camp for grown-ups?
How do you pick who receives scholarships?
I hear in the News all the time that Detroit is dangerous will I be safe there?
There are a lot of religious references and churches involved in DUST? What is that about? Are you a cult?

Will I receive a Permaculture Certificate by attending DUST?

Although many of our gardens are built with Permaculture Principles in mind and some of our instructors have Permaculture Certificates this course does not provide you with a certificate. It is our belief that our students will get a well-rounded over view of sustainable practices that can get them started wherever they may go. It is our belief that Permaculture Design cannot be taught in 72 hours and that it’s an on-going study that takes many years. If a PCD is important to you then this may not be the experience for you. On the other hand if you would like to experience what is going on in Detroit on a grass roots level as we strive to become one of the “Greenest Cities” in America then this may very well be for you!

Why does DUST cost so much; it’s only Detroit after all?

Our lecturers, cooks, security, class and project materials need to be paid. Students will receive a well-rounded education in Urban Sustainability and a full Detroit experience.

What is a Detroit Experience?

There are many ways to experience Detroit depending on your interests. For the DUST Program you will meet and work with Urban Gardeners and Farmers, work on projects that benefit the Detroit Farming community, you will tour a vast number of gardens, parks, outdoor art installations and galleries. You will eat the very best local, organic foods prepared by local chefs. On the completion of this course you will know about many progressive, sustainable, social justice organizations here in Detroit that the media never covers.

Can I bring my pets or children?

No pets please. We just do not have room for them. We do have an excellent dog boarding facility very close to the farm called K9 to five. This program is not suited for very young children. Older motivated teens would be fine with parental permission and liability waiver. Troubled youth could benefit from this as well but would need to be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Is DUST like a camp for grown-ups?


How do you pick who receives scholarships?

Our first choices go to people from Detroit and then Michigan. It is our hope that after local people take our courses they will develop a passion in one or more areas of sustainability and will become a DUST educator. We pick people who express their desire to attend through their essay.

I hear in the News all the time that Detroit is dangerous will I be safe there?

There is no denying that Detroit has its problems but it’s actually much safer than people realize. The Dust Camp is in a safe location and we will have security.

There are a lot of religious references and churches involved in DUST? What is that about? Are you a cult?

Yes, DUST partners with churches and we are involved with gardens with names like Spirit Farm, FAITH Farm: Food Action In The Hood, and Angel Park. We believe in Faith, Hope and Charity; ask our friend Charity! We respect all people and all faiths. No one will force religion or their religious views on you while you attend DUST. No, we are not a cult; but we did love the band!