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Press Release
Urban Farm to Convert Blighted Home into Cistern and Outdoor Community Space

DETROIT – The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) continues to innovate to uplift its North End Detroit neighborhood with agricultural concepts that transform blighted properties and vacant land into useful community assets. The all-volunteer organization 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 organization’s cistern will be located on its agricultural campus, or urban agrihood, on Horton street where a formerly blighted and recently decommissioned home sat abandoned. The home’s foundation was saved and will be transformed into a 16,000-gallon, 25’x40’x2.5’ cistern.

The cistern is made possible by grants from Garnier, a L’Oreal brand, in partnership with recycling pioneer TerraCycle and Target Corporation. When complete, it will prevent water run-off into Detroit’s sewer system, reduce the reliance on the grid, and irrigate MUFI’s adjacent two-acre urban farm. Installation was donated by Aaron Scarlata, active water scape architect who specializes in the planning and use of water in the landscape.

Once the cistern is complete, MUFI will then create a quaint outdoor neighborhood gathering space for residents and visitors made possible by outdoor furniture and material donations from Garnier and TerraCycle.

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The new outdoor space will include four eight-foot picnic tables, 10 square picnic tables, four gazebos, and 45 pieces of plastic lumber. The materials are made from recycled beauty packaging collected through Garnier and TerraCycle’s Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Program. The gazeebos 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 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,” says Ali Goldstein, senior vice president 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 looks 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, a new community center and healthy food café. They also have a children’s sensory garden, a 200-tree high density fruit orchard, and more.

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative recently launched a crowdgrating campaign to raise money in support of its Community Center rehab project. Supporters can donate at

If MUFI reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by 12:45 a.m., 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.

For volunteer opportunities or other information, visit, email [email protected], or call 313-444-MUFI (6834).

About MUFI

Founded in late 2011, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is an all-volunteer nonprofit whose mission is to use agriculture as a platform to promote education, sustainability, and community in an effort to uplift and empower urban neighborhoods, solve social problems, and develop a broader model for redevelopment for other urban communities. The group’s focus is the redevelopment and growth of a two-square-block area in Detroit’s North End known as America’s first sustainable urban agrihood.

About Garnier

For over 100 years, Garnier has created innovative, performance-driven products covering all types of beauty needs. Present in more than 65 countries, the brand draws its strength from its young and resolutely optimistic spirit. Garnier's expertise has expanded to cover several areas in the beauty field with iconic and world renowned products in haircare, styling, hair coloration, skincare and more. At Garnier, we embrace individuality by creating must-have products that harness the power of nature and technology to help everyone look good and feel better every day. With Garnier, the best hair starts with strength.

About TerraCycle

Founded in 2001, TerraCycle, Inc., is the world’s leader in the collection and repurposing of hard-to-recycle post-consumer waste, ranging from used chip bags to coffee capsules to cigarette butts. The waste is collected through free, national, brand-funded recycling programs, as well as various consumer and government-funded models. The collected waste is reused, upcycled or recycled into a variety of affordable, sustainable consumer products and industrial applications. Each year, across 20 countries, TerraCycle collects and repurposes billions of pieces of waste, donating millions of dollars to schools and charities in the process. TerraCycle is the subject of a new half-hour comedy, ‘Human Resources,’ on Pivot TV. Season three will air Fall 2016.

About Target

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,802 stores and at Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals millions of dollars a week. For more information, visit For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.


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