What's going on at MUFI? (This page under construction)
MUFI Urban Ag Campus
Located in Detroit's North End Neighborhood, MUFI's campus is nearly 3 acres large. Within it's footprint, the campus features a collection of projects, each of which are in varying stages of development. Approximately 1/3rd of the campus is dedicated to production farming, another 1/3rd to interactive agriculture, and the remaining 1/3rd to hardscaped space (i.e. structures).
MUFI has been operating at this location since 2011. Thanks to the help of over 10,000 volunteers who have engaged in over 100,000 of volunteer service MUFI has been able to grow and distribute over 50,000 pounds of produce (grown using organic methods) to over 2,000 households within 2-square miles at no cost to the recipients.
The campus itself has become an international tourist destination, receiving thousands of tourists from all over the world each year.
Community Resource Center
7432 Brush street is a distressed property in Detroit that was purchased by MUFI in October 2011. It was built in 1915 and used continuously until circa 2009. The property is a three story, six unit apartment complex, which has since become uninhabitable. In partnership with BASF, we are pursuing a LEED Platinum designation as we work to rehab the property into community resource center and architectural masterpiece that showcases the highest performance sustainable construction technology across the supply chain in BASF's vendor portfolio. The building programming will include a wide variety of functions, including:
Serving as MUFI's administrative base-of-operations, the 3rd floor of the community center will contain office space. A portion of this will be dedicated for MUFI staff & interns. There will also be space available for lease to serve the administrative needs of other non-profits that engage in related work.
The second floor of the MUFI Community Center is being designed as an extremely dynamic space that can accommodate a wide range of programming. For example, within the same day the space may be used for community meetings, technical trainings, workshops, board meetings, yoga classes, etc. Using flexible technologies such as movable walls and collapsable furniture, the space will effortlessly adapt to meet the needs of those using it at a moments notice.
Production & Packaging Kitchen
Centered around value-added products, this space will contain everything needed to prepare certain products (such as iced bottled beverages or novelty hot sauces using herbs and select varieties of hot peppers grown on the farm) from farm to store. We are also planning on breeding unique varieties of crops for online seed retail. The purpose of this space is to generate revenue to support MUFI's long term operational needs.
"Grab-&-Go" style foods are an increasingly popular option for hungry consumers. Recognizing this trend and the need for sustainable revenue opportunities, MUFI is building an addition to our community center that will house a for-profit farm-themed marketplace. Architecturally inspired by the aesthetic of Townhouse Detroit, MUFI is deconstructing a decommissioned greenhouse and rebuilding it on our campus to serve as "covered patio" seating for patrons to consume their marketplace products in view of the MUFI farm. To ensure that all of our activities are mutually supportive, we are exploring several legal technologies to organize this venture under. Using an adjusted Buyer's Club model, we intend to create an inclusive pricing model that affords heavily discounted membership pricing to our immediate geographic community. At its core, this self-subsidizing will allow current residents of our community to purchase our products for roughly 1/3rd of the price that a tourist might. Leveraging the more transient traffic to our campus to necessarily preserve the affordability to our existing community, we believe, is a responsible strategy to create sustainable revenue opportunities for MUFI and support our community.
The produce from our production farm (which produced over 50,000 lbs of produce since 2011 years) goes to 1 of 4 places (listed in order of priority):
Individual households using a pay-what-you-can model. Think of it as a suggested donation grocery store.
(Note: we have supplied over 200 households within 2 square miles supplied in the last 2 years)
Thousands of lbs of produce go to over 5 markets within 5 miles)
Local Restaurants & Vendors
thousands of lbs of produce supply locally-owned businesses all over southeast Michigan)
Coalition on Temporary Shelters (COTS) & Forgotten Harvest
325 Horton: Retention Pond
In our effort to drive innovation in blue & green infrastructure, this pilot is offers a cost-competitive model for removing blight. MUFI deconstructed a blighted home on it's campus down to the foundation (leaving the full basement in-tact) and converted into a rainwater harvesting cistern that automatically supplies water to an adjacent urban farm via a drip-line irrigation system. This project is co-sponsored by Target, Garnier, and TerraCycle.
Shipping Container Building
This shipping container tiny house will offer 320 square feet of living space, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom, which will house an intern ("student caretaker"), who will live in the home year-round while managing the farm and conducting agricultural research.
On a larger scale, this project serves as a pilot for a cost-competitive blight remediation strategy - the idea being to create a livable, functional space (as opposed to demolishing a structure which is costly and results in more vacant land) that is both economically accessible to all socioeconomic background and environmentally responsible.
We are currently exploring scaling this project using an innovative legal technology called Equity Accrual Leasing, which may help increase pathways to ownership for disenfranchised individuals regardless of their background.
Children's Sensory Garden
Designed as an enriched outdoor learning environment, our Children's Sensory garden is centered around activation of the five senses. Within the garden itself, there are five separate zones, each individually tailored to activate a specific sense. For example, texture garden features a selection of plants carefully curated for their unique tactile qualities, allowing children to touch a wide varieties of textures. This is a multi-phase made possible by the Scotts-Miracle Gro Company.
High Density Fruit Orchard
Our high-density fruit orchard features over 200 trees across 7 different varieties.The trees are grown in rows very close together. Each variety has a unique pruning strategy and trellising system designed to maximize production of each particular fruit. For example, our cherry trees are planted and pruned in accordance with the "upright fruiting offshoots Y trellis" (UFO-Y) system. This project is made possible by Mercedez Benz Financial Services.