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MSU launches partnership for urban agriculture in Detroit

A Detroit neighborhood will host Michigan State University’s first urban food research center, developing solutions to economic and nutritional challenges unique in urban environments.

The MSU Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning and Innovation will break ground in the first half of 2018 at the site of the former Houghton Elementary School in the Riverdale neighborhood, near Brightmoor. Urban-focused research areas envisioned for the center include soil sampling and pollution cleanup, pest and crop disease management, forestry, innovative growing systems and community food systems development.

“It’s an opportunity for us in urban agriculture. It will be about many other things, but it’s an opportunity for us to address everything from healthy soils and how those trying to build an urban agriculture economy in Detroit can benefit from our scientists,” MSU Extension Director Jeff Dwyer tells Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today.

The center will enhance efforts to open opportunities for urban agriculture entrepreneurship and offer new partnerships for community and youth development, Dwyer says.

The trio commemorates MSU Extension’s 100th birthday, and Dwyer describes how MSU Extension is often “the window to the rest of the university” for many Michigan residents.

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