The City of Detroit and Michigan State University move forward on urban agriculture research
Michigan State University to spend $500,000 a year for three years to explore the creation of the MetroFoodPlus Innovation Cluster
By John Gallagher
Free Press Business
June 27, 2012
The City of Detroit and Michigan State University have agreed in principle to pursue a major urban agriculture research program within the city to explore innovative research and techniques, such as transforming empty buildings into multi-tiered farms.
The program is envisioned as the central hub of a future collection of worldwide facilities focused on urban agriculture research.
No central campus site has been chosen yet, and the memorandum of understanding that was signed Wednesday signed by Mayor Dave Bing and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon doesn’t tie either side to any specific deadlines or dollar commitments.
But MSU has agreed to spend $500,000 a year for three years to explore the creation of what would be called the MetroFoodPlus Innovation Cluster @Detroit.
Karla Henderson, Mayor Dave Bing’s executive for planning and facilities, said the agreement has two goals: to spark innovation in food, energy, and water systems development to help feed and sustain the world’s urban residents, and to use some of Detroit’s vast inventory of vacant and abandoned land and buildings for new economic development.
If built, the multimillion-dollar research center could occupy 8 to 10acres and employ a range of specialists working on research and teaching students and others. The memorandum of understanding notes explicitly that the jobs at the center would not be low-wage farm work.