Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative is a group of 40 organizations developing ways to ensure that everyone in Detroit – especially the most vulnerable children – has access to affordable, healthy locally grown food and opportunities to be physically active.

Trails-Cocktails Event Urges Cyclists to Think Big about Detroit Greenways

Seven years ago our only major biking and trails proponent was packing up his desk at the Detroit Mayor’s office and heading back to a job in the private sector. Our city support was looking bleak.

What a change we’ve seen since then!

We now have supporters throughout most city departments and in the Mayor’s office. Though Detroit has many challenges and priorities, our work is seen as an important quality of life issue from the neighborhoods to downtown.

This summer we’ve gained another supporter with the new Planning and Development Director Maurice Cox. We heard this support firsthand at a recent event on the Detroit RiverWalk.

With help from the Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative and Bedrock Management, Detroit Greenways Coalition held its inaugural Bike Trails and Cocktails event on September 17. It began with a guided eight-mile bike tour of nearby greenway projects with assistance from Detroit’s Eastside Riders bike club. This tour included recently completed portions of the Detroit RiverWalk, the Dequindre Cut Extension, the planned Beltline Greenway and Elmwood Connector.

At the ride’s conclusion, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy provided more updates on its work and answered questions.

Next up was Cox who made a statement by riding to the event. This was not atypical for him though. He bikes to work, to Eastern Market, and all around town. Biking has been his primary means of transportation long before he got to the Motor City and he sees no need to change.

Living in Lafayette Park, he uses the nearby Dequindre Cut often. He told the attendees that every Detroit neighborhood deserves a great greenway like this — something that’s very much in line with the Detroit Greenways Coalition vision and Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative goals.

One major project that will bring a greenway to many Detroit neighborhoods (as well as Hamtramck, Highland Park and Dearborn) is the 26-mile Inner Circle Greenway. Cox spoke highly of the project and the opportunity to look beyond just the trail. He added that the greenway can be catalyst for development similar to the Atlanta Beltline.

He also stressed the value in having the Coalition in Detroit to help show community support. He told the crowd that he would join the Coalition before the event was over. He also noted that he was heading to Copenhagen the next day as part of a study tour that looks at progressive European transportation and public space designs that are people-focused.Trails-Cocktails Route Map

Beyond greenways, another Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative goal is to pass a Complete Streets ordinance in Detroit. Cox’s voice will certainly help as the ordinance is introduced to the city council this fall.

Todd Scott is co-chair of the Detroit Food & Fitness Active Living Committee and executive director of the Detroit Greenways Coalition.

Harvest Time in the D

“From the two years I’ve been here, I’ve met [people] as far as India, as close as home” – Sean Bernardo

Sean Bernardo at Meldrum Fresh Market

Part of the mission of the Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative is to develop ways to ensure that everyone in Detroit has access to affordable, locally grown food. Detroit Community Markets are neighborhood locations where residents and visitors can do just that.

Most of the sites are farmers’ markets, but the program also includes mobile produce trucks, farm stands, a year-round produce store, and food box programs.

Here is a listing of the farmers’ markets and hours:


Detroit Eastern Market Tuesdays, 9 a.m. -3:00 p.m., Russell Street

Sowing Seeds Growing Futures, 3:00-7:00 p.m., 18900 Joy Road


Islandview Farmers Market, 4:00 –7:00 p.m., 7200 Mack Avenue

Wayne State University Farmers Market, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., 5401 Cass Ave.


Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market, 4:00-8:00 p.m., 18445 Scarsdale St.

CHASS Mercado, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., 5635 West Fort St.

Meldrum Fresh Market, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., 1264 Meldrum

Corktown Farmers’ Market, 4:00-7:00 p.m., 1236 Michigan Ave.


Oakland Avenue Farmers Market, 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 9352 Oakland Ave.

D-Town Farm Stand, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 14207 West Outer Dr.


D-Town Farm Stand, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 14207 West Outer Dr.

Schools Work Group Remobilizes with an Ambitious Agenda

The Detroit Food & Fitness Schools Work Group gathered earlier this month at the Detroit Public Schools’ Office of School Nutrition after an almost yearlong hiatus.

The group outlined two main goals to work on this year: 1) to develop priorities and an advocacy work plan around Federal child nutrition policy and 2) to identify ways spearhead, track and support Good Food in early childhood settings and promote healthy first foods for infants.

As part of our child nutrition advocacy work, we will identify parent and youth engagement opportunities with DFFC partners and workgroups.  Utilizing our homegrown grass roots advocacy model, we will conduct policy trainings for community members and develop a plan for community input to the child nutrition policy process.  A number of local and national groups are a resource to the Work Group for advocacy materials and legislative updates including:

  • Michigan’s No Kid Hungry Campaign led by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan
  • FRAC (Food Research and Action Council), a national anti-hunger organization that lobbies on behalf federal programs that impact food and nutrition,
  • Urban School Food Alliance, a group of the nation’s largest school districts created to offer public school students healthy and delicious meals while keeping food costs low, and
  • National Farm to School Network, which provides a voice for the farm to school movement and information and resources about national, state and local policies that impact farm to school.

The Schools Work Group will also gather feedback through a convening in August with local food groups. The priorities letter will be completed, presented and disseminated. A policy boot camp will also be held for the general public, targeting those most affected by the current federal child nutrition provisions.

The process will cover much of the same framework as the DFFC’s engagement work on federal agriculture policy in 2013-14.

The Work Group’s other major work will focus on replicating good food practices implemented at DPS to the pre-Kindergarten setting.  We will identify outreach opportunities with early childhood providers and identify leverage opportunities in federal child nutrition policies and new Head Start performance standards.  A convening of early childhood providers is planned for early fall.

Anyone interested in more information or joining the schools Work Group should contact DeWayne Wells, DFFC director.

Present at the July 1 meeting were Ashley Atkinson, Keep Growing Detroit; Skyla Butts, DPS; Linda Campbell, community organizer; Melinda Clynes, DFFC; Ebony Roberts, JFM Consulting; DeWayne Wells, DFFC; and Betti Wiggins, DPS.

Increasing Access to Good Food While Driving Economic Development

Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative members and friends, and others who care about access to good food in Detroit, are welcome to join a launch event for the Michigan Good Food Fund. It will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, at Shed Five in Eastern Market. RSVP here.

This is part two of a two-part series about the fund.

Michigan Good Food Fund is committed to supporting projects that benefit traditionally underserved communities through increased access to nutritious food as well as capital and job opportunities. It also encourages the sourcing of locally grown food and sustainable environmental practices. It presents an opportunity not only for entrepreneurs, but also for foundations and other investors looking to amplify their work for greater impact in service to low-income children and families.

The fund supports efforts across the value chain including healthy food production, distribution, processing, marketing and retail projects. It will offer financing through flexible, competitive loans as well as grant investments with a mission-driven approach, targeting those enterprises often overlooked by traditional sources of financing. Lending will be bolstered by business assistance to help entrepreneurs grow their ventures and build a pipeline of investment-ready projects.

At launch, fund investors include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Max & Marjorie Fisher Foundation.

The goal is to grow the fund to $30 million.

The new Michigan Good Food Fund is modeled after the pioneering Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the California FreshWorks Fund, and other similar successful statewide efforts. However, unlike other healthy food financing initiatives, which primarily focus on retail efforts, the Michigan fund will work to create financial and social impact throughout the food supply chain.

About Michigan Good Food Fund: The Michigan Good Food Fund is a new public-private partnership loan and grant that provides financing and business assistance to healthy food production, distribution, processing, marketing, and retail projects that benefit underserved communities across Michigan. Join the fund on Facebook or Twitter @MIGoodFoodFund with the hashtag #MGFF.

First-of-its-kind Fund Launches to Support Good Food for All

Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative members and friends, and others who care about access to good food in Detroit, are welcome to join a launch event for the Michigan Good Food Fund. It will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, at Shed Five in Eastern Market, 2934 Russell St., Detroit. RSVP here.

The inauguration of the fund is aptly ties in with recommendations in the Economic Analysis of Detroit’s Food System, published by DFFC last fall, particularly those related to further developing a growing local food ecosystem in the city and increasing localization.

This is part one of a two-part series about the fund.

In a first of its kind approach to increase access to healthy food while driving economic development, the Michigan Good Food Fund launched this week. The fund is a new public-private partnership loan and grant fund created to address the lack of healthy food access in rural and urban communities alike by supporting good food entrepreneurs across the state.

While Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation, with food and agriculture contributing $101.2 billion annually to the state’s economy, more than 1.8 million Michigan residents—including 300,000 children—live in lower-income communities with limited healthy food access. The lack of access to affordable and nutritious food has serious implications for the health of our children and families—more than 30 percent of Michiganders are obese, the second highest rate of obesity in the Midwest region. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted.

Along with the Michigan Good Food Fund boosting accessible healthy food to everyone in Michigan, especially vulnerable communities, it will also create opportunities for food entrepreneurs, harnessing capital and growing strong, local economies.

Created by a coalition of food sector, nonprofit, higher education, government and philanthropic partners, the fund provides financial capital and business assistance to businesses that grow, distribute and sell fresh and healthy food that reaches low-income populations. This effort will increase access to healthy food, improve the health of all Michigan residents, and drive economic development and job creation.

Fair Food Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems will co-lead business assistance and pipeline development for the fund. Other core partners include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and fund manager Capital Impact Partners.