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MUFI’s urban agrihood to convert blighted home foundation into cistern, community space

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We’re following the progress of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative’s conversion of their North End land into a fully sustainable urban agrihood. The next project on the list includes building a new community space and water harvesting cistern this summer.

The cistern will be located 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 will be used to prevent water run-off into Detroit’s sewer system, reduce the reliance on the grid, and irrigate MUFI’s adjacent two-acre urban farm.

Courtesy of Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

The cistern is made possible by grants from Garnier in partnership with TerraCycle and Target Corporation. Aaron Scarlata, active water scape architect who specializes in the planning and use of water in the landscape, is donating the installation of the cistern.

After completion of the cistern, MUFI will create an outdoor gathering space for the community and visitors with 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 gazebos will be used as MUFI’s street side market. MUFI, the all-volunteer nonprofit, won the materials and a $25,000 grant last year during Garnier’s Green Garden 2016 Giveaway contest.

MUFI is currently working on transforming a vacant three-story building into a community center and healthy food cafe. They currently have a Patronicity campaign to raise funds for the urban agrihood.

“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.”