Detroit, MI, is set to witness a revolutionary change in its food landscape with the opening of the Detroit People’s Food Co-Op (DPFC), a Black-led grocery store, in March 2024. This initiative, reported by the Detroit Free Press, aims to address the pressing issue of food insecurity in the city.
Nestled within the ambit of the Detroit Food Commons (DFC) project, this grocery store will occupy a significant space in a 31,000-square-foot two-story building. The DFC, beyond offering a range of grocery items, will also feature community spaces and local kitchens dedicated to nurturing food entrepreneurs.
The second floor of this $21.3 million property, as highlighted by Outlier Media, will boast four commercial kitchens and an event space for performances and film screenings. A café with a focus on healthy offerings will also be part of this innovative project.
Tepfirah Rushdan, Detroit’s director of urban agriculture, shared with Outlier Media the transformative impact this co-op is expected to have. “The Detroit People’s Food Co-op is going to be huge for the North End, and especially for our urban agriculture ecosystem and economy,” she said. The co-op is set to provide not just a convenient source of locally grown organic produce but also a valuable retail outlet for urban farmers.
Two nonprofits, the Detroit Black Community Food Sovereignty Network (DBCFSN) and Develop Detroit, have joined forces for the Detroit Food Commons project. Malik Yakini, DBCFSN co-founder and executive director, emphasized the unique positioning of DPFC as the only Black-led, community-owned grocery store in the Midwest. It aims to counter industry practices while connecting local growers and farmers to economic opportunities.
The significance of DPFC in Detroit cannot be overstated. According to the Detroit Food Policy Council’s 2021 Food Metrics Report, a staggering 69% of Detroit households face food insecurity. The DFC project is a beacon of hope in improving these statistics and the overall health conditions of residents.
DPFC plans to source its products from Detroit-based and Black-owned businesses. The range of products will include frozen foods, meats, baked items, dairy products, and health and wellness items, along with a deli section.
In addition to addressing food insecurity, the co-op aims to boost the local economy through job creation. Chris Dilley, interim general manager of DPFC, mentioned plans to hire 40 individuals within three years and hinted at a hiring fair later this year.
As Detroit gears up for this monumental opening, the Detroit People’s Food Co-Op stands as a testament to community resilience, empowerment, and the pursuit of food sovereignty.