The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) has developed a multi-acre urban agricultural campus in Detroit with gardens and an orchard designed to feed thousands of local residents.
This so-called “agrihood” reflects a different approach to neighborhood planning and growth centered around urban agriculture — it provides fresh and locally-grown produce to local households. In the case of Detroit, disused land has been repurposed to realize this farm project.
“Over the last four years,” explains MUFI cofounder Tyson Gersh, “we’ve grown from an urban garden that provides fresh produce for our residents to a diverse, agricultural campus that has helped sustain the neighborhood, attracted new residents and area investment.”
The program is about more than just feeding people — it addresses food deserts but also nutritional illiteracy, teaching residents about healthy eating as well as sustainable and local agriculture.
MUFI is currently working to convert an old deserted building into a new Community Resource Center as part of its non-profit educational initiatives. From there, they aim to build a local healthy food cafe and other amenities for serving and connecting with the community. They are also working on a basetern project (turning basements into cisterns) to provide water for the food they grow.
“We’ve seen an overwhelming demand from people who want to live in view of our farm, says Gersh. “This is part of a larger trend occurring across the country in which people are redefining what life in the urban environment looks like. We provide a unique offering and attraction to people who want to live in interesting spaces with a mix of residential, commercial, transit, and agriculture.”