General Motors’ Detroit Hamtramck Assembly plant has teamed up with Detroit non-profit group Michigan Urban Farming Initiative to help build the city’s first homestead made from a shipping container. The 40-foot long, eight-foot wide and 10-foot tall container home will be built on MUFI’s plot of land in Detroit to demonstrate the effectiveness of reused material on dwellings oriented towards urban agriculture.
The home will be constructed from 85 percent scrap materials donated by GM and will be built in part by employee volunteers. Many of the materials used to build the home, which will include 320 square feet of living space with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen, will be scrap materials from the Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant. Some of these repurposed materials include sound-deadening vehicle insulation to insulate the walls and small fastener containers to be used as plant/vegetable starter containers. Wood pallets and other scrap wood will also be reused to build furniture, including a table and bed frame.
“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,” Doneen McDowell, Detroit-Hamtramck plant manager, said in a statement. “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 in the shipping container home year-round and will manage the farm while using the land for agricultural research activities
“The home really started as a long-term vision, said Darin McLeskey, MUFI co-founder and vice president. “With Detroit-Hamtramck and the GM Foundation’s help, the reality of a home made from recycled and reused materials on vacant land is sustainable for Detroit, or any big city in the midst of a comeback. We hope this project serves as a source of inspiration and demonstration for many other similar housing types throughout the city.”
The General Motors Foundation helped make the project possible through its annual Plant City Grants program. The GM Foundation says it will provide more than $1.7 million in funding through the program this year to 209 organizations in different 45 cities where GM employees live and work.