By the time you read this article, construction will have begun on the Detroit Food Commons, the new 31,000 sq. ft., two-story building being developed on the southeast corner of Woodward at E. Euclid by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and Develop Detroit Inc. The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network will operate four shared-use commercial kitchens, a community meeting space/banquet hall, and office space on the second floor of the building.
The Detroit People’s Food Co-op (DPFC) will occupy the entire first floor of the building. Rooted in a desire to provide greater access to high-quality, nutrient-dense foods to Detroiters, to model Black institutional leadership, and to demonstrate how community ownership and cooperative economics can provide an alternative to the extractive economy that plagues Black communities, DPFC continues the long legacy of Black cooperative development.
DPFC currently has more than 1450 member-owners who have either purchased a $200 share or are on an installment plan to do so. Those member-owners elect board members and have the opportunity to serve on the various committees that conduct the planning and work of the developing co-op. Our goal is to have at least 2,000 member-owners by the time the store opens.
Unless there are unforeseen delays in construction, the Detroit People’s Food Co-op will open in the summer of 2023. The store will carry produce (locally grown whenever possible), frozen foods, dairy, meat and seafood, groceries, health and beauty products, beer and wine, and prepared foods.
Over the next few months, DPFC will conduct a search for a general manager with the intention of filling that position this fall. After the general manager is hired, recruitment will begin for the 48 new jobs that the co-op will create.
The Detroit People’s Food Co-op is one of several Black-led food co-ops in development throughout the United States. Those co-ops share knowledge, expertise, learnings, challenges, and connections in peer calls, webinars, and in-person gatherings hosted by the National Black Food and Justice Alliance.
To become a member-owner or for more information on the Detroit People’s Food Co-op visit our website at www.detroitpeoplesfoodcoop.com.
Malik Yakini is the executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and a board member of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op.