Betti Wiggins, Director of Nutrition Services for Detroit Public Schools, is carrying out her vision for converting underutilized land to vegetable gardens. Hear it in her own voice, from the Detroit Stories project.
The Detroit Eastern Market, operating continuously since the 1890s, offers a major regional event each Saturday and serves as a focal point for food business initiatives throughout the city.
See also the Detroit Food Policy Council, whose annual report (.pdf) provides greater detail about food system initiatives; the Colors Restaurant, an experiment in good food and worker justice; the Kitchen Connect project from Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice; the food system work of Detroit's youth movement; and the role of food initiatives in the broader Detroit Future City community planning initiative.
Any visitor to Detroit is struck by the depth of economic distress, visible in the physical environment and people one meets throughout the city. The city population has declined by 25% in recent years. Detroit is on the brink of bankruptcy (npr) and an emergency manager has been appointed (nytimes).
The remarkable entrepreneurs and innovators who are driving forward with new investments in food businesses and public initiatives are some of the most faithful, dauntless personalities I have ever met.