Strengthening Detroit Voices

The Situation

As in many cities across the U.S., Detroit’s food system is broken: Detroit citizens lack education about and access to healthy food and suffer from food-related health issues; entrepreneurs lack the financial mechanisms to begin to remedy the situation; and perhaps most importantly, the voices of Detroiters are not regularly heard at the local, state, and national policy-making level. There are, however, numerous organizations doing excellent work on the ground to grow a healthy, sustainable food system.

The Opportunity

The efforts of the many solutionary organizations growing a sustainable food system in Detroit have resulted in a number of successful, scalable models that can be strengthened in Detroit and replicated in other locations with an influx of public funding.

Strengthening Detroit Voices is an initiative of Fair Food Network that elevates the issues and work surrounding healthy food access in Detroit to inform public policy so that a more sustainable food system can be realized, particularly for our most vulnerable children and families. Through a wide variety communications strategies, we work with our collaborative partners to make sure that Detroit’s voices are heard by policy-makers, and that policy shifts occur at the local, state, and national levels to ensure progress in the area of food access and equity.

It is our goal to make Strengthening Detroit Voices a replicable model for communicating local successes in the authentic voices of those most affected by issues to inform public policy.

Our Strategy

We convene local community leaders and organizations engaged in food system issues to learn from each other about successful, scalable models that can inform public policy shifts.

  • Invitation to Partnership
  • Partner Luncheon
  • Farm Bill 101 workshops

We convene Detroit citizens to talk about their issues and concerns regarding the food system, introduce them to organizations already working to grow a more sustainable system, and educate them about how to get involved in the issues at the grassroots level.

  • Telephone Town Hall
  • Video
  • Print & Social Media

Our Progress

Fair Food Network invited the following individuals and organizations to be partners in our vision to use our collective voices to elevate the issues and expand advocacy efforts to improve the access that all Detroiters have to healthy, fresh, and sustainably-grown food.

  • Associated Foods and Petroleum Dealers
  • Black Family Development
  • Charles H. Wright Museum
  • Charles Pugh
  • Coleman A. Young II
  • Councilman Andre Spivey
  • Department of Human Services
  • Detroit Black Food Security Network
  • Detroit Chamber of Commerce
  • Detroit City Council
  • Detroit Community Markets
  • Detroit Eastern Market Corporation
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
  • Detroit Parent Network
  • Detroit Urban League
  • Focus Hope
  • Food and Fitness Collaborative
  • Food Lab Detroit
  • Forgotten Harvest
  • Gleaners Community Food Bank
  • Growing Hope
  • HolyCross Children Services
  • Honey Bee Market
  • House Rep. Maureen Stapleton
  • House Rep. Rashida Tlaib
  • House Rep. Thomas Stallworth III
  • International Food and Commercial Workers Union
  • Linda Campbell
  • MetroFoodland
  • MI Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Michigan Chronicle
  • Michigan Citizen
  • Michigan Food Policy Council
  • Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy
  • Mike’s Fresh Gratiot Market
  • MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  • New Detroit
  • Northern Initiatives
  • Senator Bert Johnson
  • Senator Virgil Smith
  • The Greening of Detroit
  • U of M Department of Public Health
  • United Way
  • Wayne County
  • Wayne County Commissioner
  • Whole Foods Market

Fair Food Network hosted a Telephone Town Hall on December 5, 2012 to engage Detroiters in a conversation about the issues they face putting healthy food on their table.

Vickie Thomas from WWJ Newradio 950 moderated the conversation between Detroiters and our guest panelists Oran Hesterman (Fair Food Network), DeWayne Wells (Gleaners Food Bank), and Eric Davis (United Way).

Listen to a recording of the live event: Telephone Town Hall.

View results of the Telephone Town Hall in this infographic:

SDV Inforgraphic Page

This initiative is gaining momentum, with steady progress being made. More updates will become available here and in our blog.

Our video provides an overview of the work we are doing.