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Food Experts: Maintaining Detroit’s Momentum Begins with Healthy, Sustainable Meals for Communities

The concurrent session “Farm to Table: Detroit’s Food Economy” brought perspectives from urban farm and food entrepreneurs, restauranteurs and nonprofits supporting community neighborhood development. Panelists discussed Detroit’s food landscape and the opportunities and challenges that the local food economy faces.

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Key Takeaways

  • Detroiters live closer to gas stations and fast food restaurants and have less access to healthy, fresh food.
  • The food economy is not perceived as “sexy” like the mobility or technology industries.
  • Success for urban farm and food entrepreneurs is not based on acceleration. Rather it is about the business’s strategic plan and its impact on the neighborhood.
  • Consumers should pay close attention if Detroit owners are doing their part to contribute to the economic impact in the neighborhoods.
  • Displacement of Detroit businesses in the food industry to the suburbs is a major concern.
  • Detroiters should not forget about those local food businesses that stuck it out when times were tough in the city.
  • Detroit businesses need to focus on inclusive development. Local businesses can get ahead if they support one another.

Panelists included: Devita Davison, director of FoodLab Detroit; Marc Djozlija, proprietor and executive chef of Wright and Co.; and Tyson Gersh, president and founder of Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. This session was moderated by Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corporation.

Read more from the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference:

Social Entrepreneurs: It’s All About the Community