General Motors Company (GM) partners with Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

Posted May 2, 2014

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) announced that it is partnering with Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) to convert shipping containers and other repurposed materials into an urban homestead. The program was designed in part by TAKD Design and the Integrity Building Group. The 40x8x10 foot dwelling is part of MUFI’s plan to reinvent urban agriculture. The home is going to be constructed of 85% scrap materials donated by GM and built in part by employee volunteers.

?This innovative project allows our facility to give back even more and be an integrated community partner while reusing materials that would otherwise be discarded,? stated Detroit-Hamtramck plant manager Doneen McDowell. ?MUFI?s plan to reinvent urban agriculture is a creative approach that helps Detroit?s renaissance in a sustainable, efficient manner.?

A university student caretaker will live year-round in the home and manage the farm while using the land for agricultural research activities. MUFI launched in 2012 to empower urban communities by taking vacant land and using agriculture as a platform to promote education, community, and sustainability.

General Motors donated many of the building materials from scrap at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Brownstown Battery Assembly in Brownstown, Mich., the GM Technical Center in Warren, Mich., and GM Component Holdings in Rochester, N.Y. Some of the repurposed materials include:
– Chevrolet Volt battery cases will be reused as bird houses and planter boxes
– Sound-deadening vehicle insulation will insulate walls
– Lockers will be used as planter boxes and for tool storage
– Small fastener containers will be used as plant/vegetable starter containers
– Plywood from large shipping containers will be used for interior wall cladding and some furniture components
– Metal parts bins will become planter boxes
– Wood pallets and other scrap wood will be reused to build furniture, including a table and bed frame.

Skilled labor from Detroit-Hamtramck?s UAW Local 22 and other GM employee volunteers will help build the home on the grounds of Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly. Volunteers will help cut and install windows and doors along with run electrical, install walls, flooring, and more. After it is complete, the plant will move the house to MUFI’s urban garden located in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood.

The GM Foundation today donated $50,000 to nine Detroit and Hamtramck charities, bringing the total investment to more than $200,000 since 2011 within the community. The 2014 Foundation Plant City recipients for Detroit and Hamtramck include:
– Hamtramck Community Initiative
– Southwest Solutions (Piquette Center)
– Winning Futures
– Greening of Detroit
– Girls Who Code
– Covenant House
– InsideOut Literary Arts
– Beyond Basics
– Blessings in a Backpack