A blighted neighborhood in Detroit has been transformed into a beautiful “agrihood” built around a 3-acre organic farm and orchard
The Motor City is known for leading the way when it comes to automobiles but one neighborhood in midtown Detroit is also leading the way in urban agriculture.
The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) is a new type of neighborhood build around a community farm.
The 3-acre garden in the heart of the “agrihood” feeds 2000 families within a 2-mile radius. In it thrive 300 diverse kinds of veggies, surrounded by 200-fruit trees.
Neighbors within a 2-mile radius can simply walk down to the garden to get their organic produce for free, instead of driving to Whole Foods, which is over 4 miles away. And “we all know how expensive that can be,” says Quan Blunt, the agrihood’s farm manager.
Over 8,000 volunteers donated over 80,000 hours to getting the urban “Garden of Eatin” established. It produced over 50,000 pounds of food in the first four years alone.
The food donated or sold to neighborhood households, food pantries, local markets and restaurants. Households are provided food on a “pay what you can” basis.
Creatively, MUFI transformed the basement of a demolished house into a cistern or “pond” for collecting rainwater and irrigating the farm.
The organization transformed another dilapidated building into a brightly colored community center and brought in remodeled shipping containers for low-cost housing for farm interns.
Volunteers have also beautified the neighborhood with flower gardens, a children’s sensory garden, and a covered pavillion for community events.
“Over the last four years, 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,” Co-founder Tyson Gersh said,
Inspired by the model in Detroit, “agrihoods” have sprouted up in 90 other American cities since 2011.