DETROIT — Charter One and the Eastern Market Corp. Tuesday announced updates to the Growing Communities program that is aimed at improving economic development and promoting the local food industry in Detroit. To date, the Charter One Foundation has provided $140,000 in grants to develop and expand local food resources in Detroit.
Through the Growing Communities Market Vendor Improvement and Urban Farmer Development Program, six local businesses recently received grants ranging from $1,600 to $3,000:
- The Brinery – Ann Arbor, MI www.thebrinery.com
- Fuhr’s Valley View Fruit Farm – Imlay City, MI
- J & M Farm – Allenton, MI www.jandmfarm.com
- Knagg Creek Farm – Detroit, MI
- Melo Farms – Yale, MI www.melofarms.com
- Rising Pheasant Farm – Detroit, MI
“These grants will assist the urban farmers and market vendors to help grow their businesses in a variety of ways, from purchasing equipment that will increase their meat processing capacity to a watering system for fruits and vegetables being grown in Detroit,” said David Lochner, senior vice president and director of commercial banking of Charter One and RBS Citizens, Michigan. “We are proud to provide these grants to continue helping grow Michigan businesses and improve the health and vitality of our region.”
Another component to the Growing Communities initiative was the launch of the Detroit Community Markets website, www.detroitmarkets.org, created by local web developers Grit Design. The website contains information on more than a dozen community and mobile markets and includes location, hours and products available at each market. The goals of the community markets include: increasing access to healthy foods, improving neighborhoods, supporting local growers and entrepreneurs and creating public spaces where residents can come together.
Several of the community markets will host live, nutritious cooking demonstrations for residents throughout the summer. In partnership with Henry Ford Health System and underwritten by the Charter One Foundation, local residents will learn different ways to prepare fruits and vegetables as they come in season. Market attendees can sample the freshly prepared foods as well as receive free take-away recipe cards.