Detroit’s Mower Gang Keeps The Grass Short

When grass grows too long, you mow. When grass in public spaces grows too long, the Department of Parks and Recreation mows. Since the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy and its parks got overgrown, the Detroit Mower Gang mows. True grassroots activism disguised as a biker gang.

For considerable time now, Detroit is known as a city in decay. Even more so, it has been described as a modern ruin, or even “the ultimate museum of Fordism” multiple times. The once Motor City transformed into Doughnut City in the 2000s, might need to consider adopting the new name Mowtown. Formed in 2010 by Tom Nardone, the Mower Gang has been cutting grass and repairing play sets for seven years and all the while doing some extraordinary finds as well as lighting up the place.

Mainly communicating through their social media, the gang gets together a few times a month to revitalize the green public spaces of their city. Using plenty of wordplay they jokingly present themselves as a rambling group of rascals, rushing through the parks of Detroit, mowing and drinking beers afterwards. (They even have logo with a skull and crossed mower blades!) But in fact, they mainly do it to give the kids of Detroit the opportunity to play outside safely, on fresh mowed lawns and repaired play and swing sets.

Born out of frustration with the local authorities closing a lot of public parks — what mainly meant not mowing them — and letting them become derelict over time, Mower Gang is a true grassroots action group. In their reasoning there is no such thing as a city without playgrounds and it should be clear that kids are not capable to maintain these places themselves. So, organizing bottom-up and avoiding bureaucracy they “go straight to the kids” what makes them a bit Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws-ish and that seems to be exactly what they are after.

Not all heroes wear capes.. some drive mowers.