Detour Detroit and Planet Detroit: A guide to eating, finding and growing local food in Detroit

This food guide was originally published in Detour Detroit and Planet Detroit.

Food is one of our basic needs. But finding good food — good for the earth, good for our community, good for our bodies and good for our wallets — is anything but simple. It’s a challenge that has particular implications in Detroit, where COVID-19 has only exacerbated unemployment and poverty; pre-pandemic, 39% of Detroit households were food insecure and thousands didn’t have easy access to grocery stores. 

Fortunately, there’s a deep-rooted network of urban farmers, local food distributors, advocates, educators, service organizations and restaurateurs that are producing healthy food, getting it into Detroiters’ hands and sharing their knowledge about how to (affordably) make your meals better.

Because it’s not just fancy dishes served up at new eateries that deserve praise — you do, too. Made the trek to Eastern Market to buy your produce from a Michigan grower? That’s a win (especially if you doubled up your SNAP bucks). Grew your own cucumbers — or saved one from the trash by pickling it? More victories. Found a free food distribution site when you were struggling, then turned the offerings into a dinner that nourished you and left you a little extra to pay other bills? That’s the epitome of good food.

For The Hunger Files series, Detour and Planet Detroit spent months examining Detroiters’ solutions for feeding themselves and their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at the restaurant industry, food banks and urban farming. We’ve witnessed incredible, urgent need among Detroit families — but we’ve also seen Herculean efforts to answer that need, ingenious solutions and a longstanding, radical commitment to food sovereignty.

Through this project, we’ve talked to dozens of local experts who know food, from seed to table. The Hunger Files guide is a bite-sized taste of their wisdom about growing, preserving and finding local food in Detroit, with tips for things you can do, starting today. 

Click here for the rest of the guide.

Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes about food at the intersection of culture and business. She has contributed to NPR, Midwest Living magazine, Eater, and a variety of other publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.
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