Candius Elliott outside
Candius Elliott of Workin’ Roots was one of 50 Detroit farmers selected to receive an award from the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund. The fund launched in 2020 to help Black farmers purchase land and address historical land ownership disparities. (Photo by Jewel Dotson)

BridgeDetroit’s editorial team takes a much deserved rest during this time of year. In addition to our regular news coverage, we’ve taken time to reflect on our accomplishments in 2022 and to share some of our priorities for 2023. Our editors and reporters love serving the citizens in the City of Detroit. We thank you for reading and your ongoing support of our nonprofit newsroom.

Hey, Detroit! It’s me, Jena. I mostly cover the environment, but I love food, and I love local food even more. So I was excited about efforts this year to diversify Detroit’s coffee scene, the return of the Detroit Institute of Bagels, and a bigger-than-ever Southwest Restaurant Week

As we prepare to fill our tables for the holidays, I’m thinking about the year of food access triumphs and losses in Detroit.  

A report came out with findings that the city has lost 10 grocery stores in the last several years, meaning it’s getting even harder for Detroiters to buy affordable and quality food. The report also noted that food insecurity rates have remained high since an increase during the pandemic. Over Thanksgiving, food prices were up due to inflation, and local food banks experienced shortages of certain items. 

BridgeDetroit reporter Jena Brooker

But on the positive side, community leaders broke ground in April on the future site of a new grocery store in the North End, the Detroit People’s Food Co-op. The store will source from local businesses like In The Mix, a new Black-owned business that is flash freezing produce grown in Detroit. And, for the third year in a row, the Detroit Black Farmer Land fund awarded money to farmers to assist in purchasing land and promoting food sovereignty, granting out $100,000 to 50 farmers. This year we also saw the stalwart food rescue organization Forgotten Harvest double its capacity to provide free food to Detroit families with a move to a new space in Oak Park. 

In the fall, the Corktown farm Brother Nature got closer to finally owning the land it has been farming on for nearly 20 years, when the land bank approved the sale of 10 lots. The sale now awaits final approval from Detroit’s City Council.

This year, the United States Department of Agriculture announced it would open its first office of urban agriculture in Detroit. Residents and farmers are waiting to see how that will unfold in 2023 and if the office will be able to address some of the ongoing barriers to urban farming in the city. 

Thank you for reading all year long, and I hope your table is filled with some delicious food. If you know of a good gluten free sugar cookie recipe, would you mind sending it to me? jbrooker@bridgedetroit.com

Sincerely, 

Jena Brooker 

Jena is a BridgeDetroit's environmental reporter, covering everything from food and agricultural to pollution to climate change.

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