Detroit has a rich agricultural history and is home to a vibrant community food system. Although Detroit has experienced decades of economic decline, there are many assets fueling the city’s future.
Detroit is a national model for urban agriculture initiatives, and community food partners have worked tirelessly to create an inclusive environment where everyone has access to good food. Other under-utilized assets include vacant land and buildings, direct access to fresh water, a busy international border crossing, and committed people who are passionate about revitalizing the city.
Because of the city’s history and its many assets, the Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative (DFFC) will be conducting a study of Detroit’s food economy in 2013. A study of the local food economy in Detroit that documents both opportunities and gaps will help guide and inform future investments. This study will examine three major areas of interest:
Distribution– methods and/or systems currently utilized to distribute good food within the city of Detroit and SE Michigan
Localization– percentage of local purchasing resulting in the greatest economic benefit for the city of Detroit; proposed timeframe for reaching the local purchasing goal; and the infrastructure, methods, and consumer behaviors required to reach goal within designated timeframe
Workforce– employment opportunities currently available in the food system and future opportunities that may be available if the localization goal is achieved
An essential component of the study is community engagement that will include Detroit residents, local entrepreneurs, civic, and business leaders. Community focus groups will be conducted for feedback on design, the data collection process, and the development and dissemination of the final study.
DFFC is partnering with the Detroit Food Policy Council, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and Detroit Future City on this project, and we look forward to providing updates on our progress throughout the year.