Consumers Prefer Local Produce And To Know Their Farmers

The nonprofit organisation that works with the farmers is the nonprofit organisation that’s called Keep Growing Detroit. Keep Growing Detroit, one of the things that they run that I absolutely love is they run a cooperative. That cooperative is called Grown in Detroit. That cooperative consists of about 100 farmers. These are very, very small farmers who don’t yet have the capacity to grow and harvest and sell on their own, so they decided to come together to grow together. They grow together, and the nonprofit Keep Growing Detroit aggregates all of the produce from these farmers, and they sell it at a very big farmers’ market. It’s very similar to the Victoria Market. It’s a very big market. It’s called Eastern Market in Detroit. They sell the produce under this banner that’s called Grown in Detroit.

I just want to be very clear because these farmers are very proud of the fact that it’s produced in Detroit without chemicals or genetically-modified products. Folks always ask me, when I talk about urban agriculture in Detroit, “Well, is the food organic? Is the produce organic?” Becoming organically certified is very expensive for the farmers. We also polled Detroiters to ask them what’s more important. “Is it more important for your food to be organic or is it more important for you to know your farmer?” Overwhelmingly, Detroiters said, “It’s more important for us that we actually know our farmer and that the produce is actually grown in the city of Detroit.” One of the things that I love is that Grown in Detroit satisfies that need. They grow produce in Detroit and they sell it to Detroiters.

Now, here’s the thing. I can give you some statistics that will probably impress you. It does other folks. Keep Growing Detroit passes out about 250,000, close to 300,000 packets of seeds for free to folks who want to start farming in their neighbourhoods, communities, backyard. Keep Growing Detroit grows about a quarter of a million transplants that is distribute and dispersed all over the city of Detroit. Last year, Detroit grew 6,000 tonnes of produce in the city of Detroit. That’s wonderful. That’s great. That’s great statistics, but one of the things that I love about it, and then Nick kind of brought it up, is that over 35,000 Detroiters are engaged every season in growing and harvesting. It is that connection between community and people coming together that we actually love that people are growing together in the city of Detroit.

 


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