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Urban gardens can do more for Detroit than grow produce

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters and community center in Detroit.
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's new headquarters and community center in Detroit.

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, or Mufi, is debuting what it calls the country's first sustainable "agrihood" in Detroit.

Tyson Gersh, the president and co-founder of Mufi, said aside from fresh produce, the urban gardens have provided volunteer opportunities and brought local investment to the area.

Gersh said the community resource center will hold meetings, serve as the new headquarters for the initiative, and host educational programs and events.

"I want this place to be so much more than just a garden and a cafe, I want it to be used for and by the people [who] live here," he said. 

Gersh's vision for the urban garden and community center includes providing healthy produce to residents, and only using sustainable resources.

According to a press release from Mufi, the group's mission is to "use urban agriculture as a platform to promote education, sustainability, and community in an effort to uplift and empower urban communities, solve many social problems facing Detroit, and potentially develop a broader model for redevelopment for other urban communities."

The community resource center was recently emptied out by volunteers, and Gersh hopes it will be fully operational by next summer. 

"Downtown Detroit looks great, and that's cool and all, but the neighborhoods are where the city's comeback needs to happen," he said. 

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