project leader
Aziza K
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Spring is Nigh!

the project


Our project aims to educate and empower Detroiters toward self-sufficiency, interdependence and sovereignty.  We seek to create “a future shaped by care for land, water, and people to which we belong.” 

Our vision for this project includes 1) Building a prototype of a mud-and-strawbale small structure multi-use building at ECOSphere afrofuture technology campus, 2) Offering a workshop series that will train and empower participants in natural mud-and-strawbale building with the hope that others will be able to start their own buildings 3)  Participating in the Afro Future Youth exhibit by creating a hands-on presentation of the accessibility, potential and possibility of natural building. 

We are a collective of passionate humans who believe that the solutions to many of our pressing problems can be found in our own backyards.  We are a diverse group of  builders, healers, growers, artists, activists, writers, who dream of a future in which residents have full access to the materials and skills to build their own dwellings in a way that uplifts the community and enriches the environment.  We center healing, interdependence, and sustainability in our lives and believe in the transformative possibilities through environmentally-conscious natural building.

the steps

  1. Ongoing: gathering of locally-sourced resources and materials.
  2. July 2023: Organizing, training and preparation for fundraising and workshops. 
  3. December 2023: Initiate foundation building. First Dig Day
  4. April 2024: Complete foundation: dig expansion and pier placement.
  5. April 2024: Volunteer Day: Complete Floor
  6. May 2024 : Builders Workshop I /Wallraising 
  7. May 2024: Volunteer Day: Complete Roof
  8. June 2024: Builders Workshop II & III / Internal & External Plastering
  9. Summer 2024 : Finalization of project. 

why we're doing it

Everyone knows that housing in Detroit is a major issue.  From unaffordable rents, prohibitively expensive heating bills, housing discrimination, tax foreclosures, deteriorating roofs and structures, health problems from mold and lead, flooding basements, housing is intimately connected to the many struggles residents face.  We believe reimagining housing through natural building can address the social, economic and environmental problems we are facing.    

Socially, natural building promotes inter-connectivity in these times or intense isolation.  In conventional building, labor is contracted out and is highly specialized, leading to the need for large sums of upfront capital.  Our project allows for like-minded solutionaries to build and educate together, as the primary tools for the natural build are our hands and feet, and anyone is able to participate. By working collaboratively, strawbale buildings promote unity and communal self-sufficiency rather than the depersonalized exchange of money. Natural buildings also bridge the connection between city-dwellers and nature, reminding people that even when we are alone, we are supported by the land.

Economically, natural building will lead to a more equitable future for Detroiters.  Detroiters face many of the same challenges in obtaining fair, equitable, affordable housing and land as many people across the country. Discrimination in housing sometimes forces people to live in unsafe, unsanitary conditions.  Housing is a human right.  However, dependence on a system that is failing the people is not the solution.  We believe in nature's model of small scale, decentralized, regenerative possibilities to housing.  By educating and training others in how to access and harvest local resources, and use creative skills and knowledge to build their own structures, composting toilets or simple storage facilities, we are depending on ourselves, our community and our land, not on a discriminatory system. 

Environmentally, natural building invites us to think about new ways to walk and chill on this earth, and use our resources in a more conscientious way. The climate chaos we are experiencing stems from the colonial view of humans separate from nature; nature as something separate and out there, and in the worst case, nature as something to control and tame.  The earth is a home, and we aren’t going to mars, and natural building is the soft commitment to treating the earth as our home.  It reminds us that the earth provides everything we need, from wood to straw to mud to stone, and that by sharing knowledge, tools and skills we can live abundantly on this earth. 

This project is a tiny step.  Yet, by fundamentally shifting our view of the land and community we believe different futures will be born. We want to see a future of  thriving where both the people and the planet is nurtured and cared for


Materials: $5,000

Skilled labor/workshop facilitation fee: $4000

Food for workshop participants: $500

Miscellaneous: $500


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee 8% N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee 4% $208.25
TOTAL TO RAISE $10,208.25
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.


TOTAL RAISED $10,334.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee 8% N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee 4% $216.68


Spring is Nigh!

Greetings! Please join us Sunday April 7, 2024 from 12pm-4pm for our second volunteer Dig Day! We will be expanding our holes dug in the winter, and placing piers in preparation for building the foundation of the structure. Volunteers on Dig Day will be given priority placement in our FREE workshops in the spring on 1) wall raising, 2) external plastering, and 3) internal plastering. 

Our building will be a small, standalone structure located at Detroit's own afrofuture technology campus, ECOSphere (2800 Ewald Circle, Detroit, MI 48238). Our structure is modeled to be used for any purpose you can dream of! (in our second phase of building, we will be adding solar panels). You will learn building skills and will be given the educational tools (and take-home workbook and goodie bag) to equip you to build your very own structure. 

Be sure to complete the attached form to sign up to volunteer on Dig Day. We are so excited about this work, and cannot wait to see you. 

Register for Dig Day:

Learn more about our project organizers here: 

1.  Nyame Selassi (Gangster to Guru/San Sau )

2. Gabrielle Knox (The Joy Project: Instagram: Building Cooperatively Detroit: Instagram:

3. Deanne Bednar (Strawbale Studios: )

4.  Aziza Knight (AK Healing Arts Ohana Gardens Detroit:, Instagram: @azee_eye_easy) 

5. Het and Heru House (Broadside Lotus Press/ECOSphere

Fall Update!

Winter is upon us! Our team is racing along with mother nature in the change of the seasons. We are beginning our foundations: flooring and roofing! And look forward to providing status and picture updates for our project before December. Thank you all again and stay tuned!

Thank You!

We are now fully funded, and excited to say that we will be moving forward into Phase 1 of our project, which includes site-planning, and organizing volunteer and workshop days. We could not have done this without your generous donations, and are so very grateful to have had your support! 

Thank you!

Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to our campaign so far. We appreciate all the love, support, donations and you spreading the word about our exciting new project. We are happy to say that we are able to extend the deadline, allowing folks a couple more weeks to share and support. You are appreciated! 


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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