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Getting into the D

Got an interesting email the other day…You may remember Mascha Poppenk, the Dutch filmmaker who co-created “Grown in Detroit,” a documentary about urban farming, a school for pregnant teens and Detroit.

Poppenk frequently visits the city, often for film showings and related projects. Her email goes as follows:

Every 12 minutes a family leaves the state of Michigan. Almost half the population left the city of Detroit... My family and I want to get in but don't get a Green Card... Isn't that strange? (We didn't make last year's Green Card lottery (and we) don't have the otherwise required money up front to get in.) Even the money we get to fund our films mostly comes from out of the country, which should be a nice bonus for Detroit/Michigan.

Maybe a nice blog question... how to get in to the "D"? Any suggestions?

I did some checking, and Mascha's statistic there comes from a 2009 article in The Detroit News about the state's staggering eight-year population exodus. Here's perhaps the best – and most telling – quote from the article:

"These numbers -- my God," said Kurt Metzger, a demographer who heads a local nonprofit. "It's like a perfect storm -- the education, the income, the young people, everything is going in the wrong direction."

To make their film, Mascha and husband Manfred Poppenk filmed in Detroit for almost three months. They immersed themselves in the city and the farm, ignoring friends' worries about their safety.

In fact, the Poppenks applied for a Green Card to live in the United States; more specifically, they wanted to settle in Detroit.

“We love that city. It is the city of tomorrow, I totally believe in that,” Mascha said when I originally talked to her.

So how do you like that? Someone wants to be here. Personally, I'd love to have Mascha and her family here. There are about six houses on my street up for sale. That certainly is one way to stimulate growth in Michigan. She's very creative. And she's enthusiastic about our future. That's more than I can say about many of the residents here.

So -- what are your suggestions?

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