Other Efforts to Address Fresh Food Access and Security
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation's Green Grocer Project was launched with a $500,000 seed grant from the Kresge Foundation in 2010. It provides technical assistance, loan funding, and a façade improvement program to support Detroit's 77 full-service grocers. The project also organized events like grocery store tours to help educate communities on the variety of products available locally.
SEED Wayne is a project of Detroit's Wayne State University, and works in partnership with community-based organizations on building a sustainable food system, integrating teaching, research, community engagement, and operational management as a function of its educational programming.
But still there is that "lack of access to supermarkets" stigma, and the reality that, yes, if a family lives more than a mile away from the nearest major grocery store but has dozens of the some 1,700+ small grocers, convenience stores, gas stations, liquor stores, pharmacies, dollar stores, delis, and bakeries within walking distance, they might just be getting their household groceries from one of those "fringe food" businesses.
Which is why Val Waller and Noam Kimelman launched Fresh Corner Café in 2011.
It began as a school project, but evolved into a mission-driven food service provider with the goal of making affordable, high-quality, healthy meals available to more Detroiters utilizing the city's expansive network of convenience stores.
It started with the idea of bringing fruits and vegetables into corner stores and convenience stores where the only food options are typically unhealthy hot foods (like pizza and hot dogs) and shelves of junk food. It then switched to selling their own freshly-made wraps and sandwiches, and the business has grown from there.