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Detroit Urban Farm Plots ‘Healthy Cafe’ and Community Kitchens

A vibrant food hub is growing in the North End

MUFI building and gardens
MUFI in partnership with Sustainable Brands, BASF, GM, and Herman Miller plans to redevelop several properties near its urban gardens in Detroit’s North End.
Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Big changes are in store for the North End’s growing MUFI (Michigan Urban Farming Initiative) campus. The non-profit organization on Wednesday announced plans to redevelop a vacant building near MUFI’s sprawling urban gardens and orchards into a Community Resource Center with two commercial kitchens. Additionally, land adjacent to the building will be transformed into a “healthy cafe.”

The goal is to create a sustainable urban “agrihood” — described as an alternative neighborhood growth model, positioning agriculture as the centerpiece of a mixed-use development. The MUFI development would be the first agrihood of its kind in America located within a city.

MUFI currently operates a two-acre urban garden, a 200-tree fruit orchard, and a children’s sensory garden, which annually provide fresh, free produce to about 2,000 households within two square miles of campus. In addition to the cafe and building renovations, the project organizers are in the process of restoring a vacant home for use as intern housing and are designing a two-bedroom shipping container home.

According to a release, the kitchens will both service the farm-to-table cafe and provide space to produce and package value-added products made from food grown in MUFI’s gardens. Developers of the Community Resource Center aim to make it Detroit’s first LEED certified platinum building.

Eater has reached out to MUFI for more details on the cafe. Both the restaurant and community building are expected to be unveiled during the Sustainable Brands 2017 Detroit conference hosted at Cobo Center May 22 through May 25. In the meantime, visit our sister site Curbed Detroit for a tour of the MUFI campus.

Update, 12/2, 9:50 a.m.: David Darovitz, a representative from MUFI, declined to elaborate on plans for the cafe stating that the menu and restaurant are in their “infancy.” More details are expected to be release in early 2017. Stay tuned for updates.

America’s First Sustainable Urban Agrihood Is Growing in Detroit [CDET]

All North End Restaurant Coverage [ED]

All Developments Coverage [ED]