Despite the many urban farmers, gardeners, bakers, and makers living in Brightmoor, the northwest Detroit neighborhood lacks a community kitchen. State law requires that many food products be produced in commercial kitchens, thus prohibiting many would-be food entrepreneurs in Brightmoor from selling home-made products at market.
To address this, a group of Brightmoor residents has organized to open a commercial kitchen in their neighborhood, one that will pump up that area's food economy through a co-operative model. It's called the Brightmoor Artisan's Cooperative and Community Kitchen
, and if all goes right, they'll have opened their doors by April 2015.
After a number of conversations, members of the community identified the need for access to a commercial kitchen and decided earlier this year to purchase a building. After a successful a crowdfunding campaign, the group purchased the building at 22739 Fenkell Street, a 7,000 sq. ft. building split into three storefronts, at a price of $18,000 in the recent Wayne County foreclosure auction.
The group says that the building's previous owner -- a man who owns the liquor store next door -- is contesting the auction, though the co-op is confident enough in the sale to move ahead with their plans.
"Brightmoor has seen some tough times, but things have been improving in the past half decade," says Nicky Marcot, chairperson of Brightmoor Artisan's Cooperative and Community Kitchen. "The kitchen might bring businesses back to the Fenkell corridor and help create a vibrant and stable commercial district. This could be a catalyst."
In addition to the commercial kitchen facilities, the group plans on utilizing storefront space for a cafe or restaurant and a store where local food makers can sell their products. Classes for adults and children are also planned.
Source: Nicky Marcot, chairperson of Brightmoor Artisan's Cooperative and Community Kitchen
Writer: MJ Galbraith
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