The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), an all-volunteer organization revitalizing Detroit’s North End neighborhood through agriculture, will debut a new recreational space and water-harvesting cistern this summer, thanks to grants and material donations from Garnier, TerraCycle and Target Corporation. The announcement coincides with the non-profit’s crowdfunding campaign to help convert a vacant three-story apartment complex into a community resource center. The campaign ends April 2.
Sustainable Urban 'Agrihood'
Once the cistern is completed, MUFI will then create an outdoor neighborhood gathering space for residents and visitors with outdoor furniture and material donations from Garnier and TerraCycle. The space will include four eight-foot picnic tables, 10 square picnic tables, four gazebos and 45 pieces of plastic lumber, all made from recycled beauty packaging collected through Garnier and TerraCycle’s Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Program. The gazebos will be used as MUFI’s street-side market. The all-volunteer nonprofit won the materials and a $25,000 grant late last year during Garnier’s Green Garden 2016 Giveaway contest.
“We applaud the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative for their hard work and dedication to beautifying the North End of Detroit neighborhood. At Garnier, our mission is to take care of our customers’ hair, skin and the planet through our work with TerraCycle to recycle beauty empties into materials to create Green Gardens,” said Ali Goldstrin, SVP of Marketing at Garnier. “We are honored to grant the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative with a Garnier Green Garden and look forward to watching the community continue to flourish.”
The new recreational space and water cistern are an important part of the organization’s larger plan to create America’s first sustainable urban agrihood, a community development model that focuses on agriculture to uplift and build value in a struggling urban neighborhood.
“We look at abandoned properties in our neighborhood as opportunities to build community assets,” said Tyson Gersh, president of MUFI. “By using creativity to solve a problem, we can demonstrate how innovations in agriculture can be applied to improve neighborhoods.”
The group has several other projects underway that seek to transform vacant properties and land into functional community assets. The centerpiece of the proof-of-concept urban agrihood is its two-acre urban farm, community center and healthy food café. It also features a children’s sensory garden, a 200-tree, high-density fruit orchard and more.
Donations can be made to MUFI’s crowdfunding campaign to raise money in support of its Community Center rehab project on Patroncity. If MUFI reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by 12:45 am on Sunday. April 2, 2017, the group will receive a matching $50,000 grant made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places program.