Revitalization of a City
A look inside the culinary efforts to rebuild the Motor City
Detroit-based Eastern Market Corporation (EMC) is leveraging the city’s Eastern Market’s dynamic history as a way to jump-start the revitalization of a culturally rich city. The non-profit is currently crafting a plan to launch the most inclusive, resilient and robust regional food hub in the United States, according to Dan Carmody, president.
“We’re providing critical infrastructure to strengthen the Eastern Market District, improve access to healthy, green, affordable and fair food choices in Detroit and throughout Southeast Michigan and to fortify the food sector as a pillar of regional economic growth,” said Carmody.
Currently, the non-profit is operating 19 pop-up farm stand locations to improve food access and promote employee wellness programs and provide umbrella services to 14 members of the Detroit Community Markets Network, as well as working with Detroit Public Schools to improve student meal content and healthy food consumption.
In terms of expanding the Eastern Market’s visibility, EMC is renovating Shed 5 to create and build a shared-use community kitchen and the Eastern Market Green Grocer in an attempt to improve food access four days a week, when the market is not open for retail customers. It’s replacing Shed 4 with a structure that includes 48 units of workforce housing in addition to market space to provide a mixed-use market hall model. “We are converting a 104,000 square foot abandoned building to create a regional food accelerator to expedite the growth of scalable food enterprises,” he added.
“We believe Eastern Market is a place that can help improve the supply of and demand for fruits and vegetables..,”
Another unique initiative EMC is working on is “Detroit Spiritual Brunch” which will debut in spring 2014. The concept behind the brunch is to bring together three to four faith groups on a weekly basis to showcase a few recipes and their musical ministries and to collaborate with local-area chefs. The food will be cooked in the Community Kitchen in Shed 5.
“We believe Eastern Market is a place that can help improve the supply of and demand for fruits and vegetables throughout Detroit by operating programs with many community partners,” said Carmody. “We look for ways to both celebrate good food as well as ways to make it easier for Detroit residents to source good food.”