Brush St. Community Resource Center and Urban Farm
We intend to implement our philosophy through the development of 7432 Brush St. and its surrounding property. 7432 Brush Street is a grassroots urban renewal project designed to involve the Detroit community in sustainable agriculture. It will be a multi-stage process relying heavily on community input and participation.
Community Resource Center
7432 Brush street is a distressed property in Detroit that was purchased by MUFI in October of 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. Our goal is to restore the structure to multi-unit residence that would serve as a model of sustainability and urban renewal.
The first floor of the Community resource center will be designed to accommodate new or small scale non-profits that seek to advance sustainability, community, and/or education in the Detroit community. This will be a place where organizations with similar missions can collaborate, pool resources, engage in relevant dialogue, and ultimately have a physical space that is economically accessible. A specific business model is currently in development.
The second and third floor will be designed to accommodate transient residents and visitors who want to learn about the specific strategy MUFI employs to implement agriculture as a means to promote community, sustainability, and education. We plan on having several bedrooms replete with bunk beds in addition to a community kitchen and recreational space. This will be an ideal environment for classes, foreign individuals or groups, and those who want to spend a few days learning the many approaches to agriculture MUFI will have on display.
An additional structure will be attached to the existing building using passive and sustainable design. This structure will serve as a multi-purpose room which will facilitate workshops oriented to engage citizens in sustainable agriculture. More specifically, we plan on providing a hands-on experience to interested parties centered on growing food, providing an educational foundation regarding the nutritional value of food, and the preparation of food. Future plans may include an industrial kitchen in which community members can manufacture goods for selling at markets.
Using the 1-5 acres of vacant land surrounding the 7432 Brush St. property, we will build 500 raised bed community gardens to facilitate community engagement in agriculture. The gardens will serve as a resource for the public to plant their own plants, grow their own food, learn the skills from knowledgeable individuals living in the Co-op, and partake in the community gardening process. Each bed would be rented out seasonally at cost, and would include the service of individuals living in the house, who would be available to help with any aspect of gardening.
The amount of available land is dependent upon testing of the soils for contaminants, and the City of Detroit's willingness to grant MUFI permission through their Adopt-a-Lot Program.
We have found approximately one acre of contiguous city-owned land, with an additional 4 acres of vacant city-owned land within a 3 block radius.
MUFI members also have additional properties available for use, mainly in the New Center area and near Eastern Market. These can serve as community garden extensions and will require more community involvement than the Brush Street Garden.
Shipping Container Building
Due to security reasons, MUFI plans to buy a shipping container for storage purposes. Building supplies, tools, and other valuables can be stored in this safe, weathertight location. As the building becomes more secure, the shipping container can double as a shed storage location. Eventually the container can serve as a model for sustainable living and be developed into a standalone auxiliary structure. Plans have already been created in a previous student competition, titled The Pioneer Project.