The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Friends of Mukai a $150,000 Challenge Grant for the restoration of Mukai Farm & Garden’s historic Mukai Cold Process Fruit Barreling Plant. The grant is one of twenty-four Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants. It comes with a challenge to the recipient to use the federal funds to spur other support for capital construction and renovation projects.
Friends of Mukai has been working for several years on plans to restore the Fruit Barreling Plant to create a multi-purpose center that will include humanities programs highlighting the over 120 years of the Japanese American experience on Vashon Island, Washington. Once restored, the Fruit Barreling Plant will also host agricultural tenants to advance Vashon’s agricultural tradition.
“This grant award comes at an important time for Mukai Farm & Gardens,” said Rita Brogan, President of Friends of Mukai. “The award reaffirms the national importance of the Mukai restoration to the pre-WWII agricultural legacy of Japanese Americans in America. Once complete, this restoration will tell the story of our community, and it will also offer the space for programming to advance understanding of the important economic role of immigrant communities.”
Friends of Mukai has engaged the architectural firm of Hoshide Wanzer in developing the next phase of designs for the restoration project.
“Just a few short years ago, Mukai was in ruins and the community rallied to restore the historic farmhouse and Japanese garden at Mukai,” said Rita Brogan. Restoration of the Fruit Barreling Plant will greatly enhance Mukai’s ability to fulfill its mission to celebrate the contributions of immigrants to our American story.
She added, “We have been blessed with the support of our Congressional delegation, the State of Washington, King County, Seattle and Puget Sound’s Asian American community and the wonderful residents of Vashon Island. We now need to make one last big push to make the vision of a restored Fruit Barreling Plant a reality.”