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Michigan Urban Farming Initiative in Detroit for Food Fun

Want to get your kids thinking about what they're eating? Volunteer at this nonprofit farm that offers children a chance to grow, harvest and learn.

Agriculture can build community and education. That's a core belief at the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, or MUFI, in Detroit. And this nonprofit, run exclusively by volunteers, is a primo place for kids to learn about growing their own food – and play a part in bettering their city.

Through workshops and fieldwork, MUFI aims to educate the community about urban farming while providing hands-on experience for Detroiters of all ages.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

Volunteers are always welcome to help build this large-scale community garden in Detroit's North End. Opportunities range from planting and harvesting veggies to tearing down blighted buildings, says president and co-founder Tyson Gersh. For young children, MUFI also holds healthy food/farm education workshops that introduce parents and kids to growing produce and making healthy food choices.

Kids learn a variety of skills at volunteer workdays that help build character and independence, Gersh says. Tykes discover how to grow and care for fruit and vegetable plants, while kids 14 and older find out how to build a raised bed and safely handle power tools – with parental supervision, of course!

During the summer, ask about an in-the-works education series where kids can learn about urban farming and food independence, says Gersh. Check ahead for the latest details.

If planning to bring kids 13 and under to a volunteer workday, contact the farm (number is in info box, above left) and chat to director Molly Hubbell in advance, Gersh adds.

"We have an accept-all-people policy," Gersh says. "So if you contact us and want to do something at our site, regardless of what the skillset or age or background of the group you're bringing is, we always figure out a way to make it work."

In most cases, though, there's no need to call or sign up: "Just show up and be ready to work!" Water and/or Gatorade is usually provided on workdays, though volunteers are encouraged to bring their own water bottles or cups for refilling.

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