Thanks to the Shadow & Act blog, I was hipped to a Detroit based documentary film titled “Grown in Detroit” directed by Dutch  film makers Mascha and Manfred Poppenk.

After viewing the trailer S&A posted I was sucked in & wanted to know more about the girls & farming program at the Catherine Ferguson Academy for young pregnant & parenting teen girls.

Incidentally, the Catherine Ferguson Academy is 1 of 3 schools in the nation for pregnant & parenting teens.


“…Grown in Detroit focuses on the urban gardening efforts managed by a public school of 300, mainly African American, pregnant and parenting teenagers. In Detroit alone, there are annually more than 3,000 pregnant teenagers who drop out of high school. This school is one of three located in the United States. As part of the curriculum, the girls are taught agricultural skills on the school’s own farm located behind the school building what used to be the playground.

The young mothers, often still children themselves, are learning by farming to become more independent women and knowledgeable about the importance of nutritional foods. Many of them start out disliking the often physically hard work on the farm but this aversion disappears as they see their crops growing and being sold for profit. “Back to the roots”, a simple yet effective solution for a city that has to start all over again and perhaps a lesson to be learned for the rest of the world.”

If you are intrigued after seeing this preview, I would encourage you to make a donation to view the entire one-hour film. It’s worth it!

Also check out this piece that “Time” ran a few months ago on the school & film.

And actually, I watched the film with my daughters as a eye opener to bad choices, consequences & opportunity. They were quite interested in the farming, disturbed by the pregnant teens and amused by the one young lady who got stung by the bees. Admittedly, the girl getting stung by the bees was funny but I couldn’t laugh. Just saying.


Comment April noted that CFA was slated to close along with many other Detroit public schools.  Fortunately, this is only a partial fact.

I just learned that CFA will not close, in terms of the program. Instead, it is being merged with another Detroit public school program.  Details on the move are yet to be announced.

Here is a snipper from a communication from CFA’s principal G. Asenath Andrews:

“I have received your out pouring of concern and energy for what’s best for the young women and children of Catherine Ferguson Academy. I was out of the country when the word came first that the school was closing then still out when that was revised to say that the school was being merged with a smaller program and moved to another building. At this point that is what I expect to happen. Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women is slated to move to the West-side Multi-cultural School. As hard as it is to think of a new location, I think this move is best for the future of the school.

I have already been in contact with the Assistant Superintendent over CFA and requested special assistance in moving the farm, barn soil animal and all to the new location…”