Food And Drinks

Collectively Owned Detroit People’s Food Co-op Meets Membership Goal

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The Detroit People’s Food Co-op (DPFC) recently welcomed its 1,000th member, met a hard-earned membership goal, and moved a step closer to organizing the opening in the city’s historic North End.

In November 2019, the Detroit People’s Food Co-op (DPFC) announced its membership campaign aiming to attract 1,000 members to create a full-service, collective grocery store within the Detroit city limits. At the time of the announcement, the cooperative had 407 members. However, Malik Yakini, a founding member of the group building DPFC, tells Eater that the pandemic and Black Lives Matter riots across the country have fueled massive membership growth and helped the group reach its enrollment numbers.

“In April DPFC saw an increase in membership, likely related to COVID and protests. And now we’re seeing an increase again, ”says Yakini. “Many community members have seen firsthand the fragility of the food industry and are rethinking how it plays a role in it.”

Members of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op are involved in shaping the development of the project and playing an important financial role in creating an institution that serves the community, says Yakini. Memberships can be purchased with a one-time payment of $ 200 or through a 10-month payment plan of $ 20.

“This is a very unique time, and one of the things we see is the disruption of trade and the longing for more equitable relationships with an economy that focuses on people over profit,” says Yakini. “One of the most important things we can do is create institutions based on the idea of ​​racial and economic justice, providing quality and good food to people, and building a localized economy so that we are not so dependent on companies that control the food system. “

Hanifa Adjuman, owner of the member, is committed to the cooperative. DPFC [Courtesy photo]

When it finally opens, the cooperative will be open to the public and housed in a 34,000-square-foot community development complex known as the Detroit Food Commons on the southeast corner of 8324 Woodward Avenue in Euclid. The project, led by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, aims to provide the community with better access to healthy and sustainable food, nutritional education, and a space focused on creating a fair and equitable food system in Detroit.

“The Detroit Food Commons is the building that will house the Detroit People’s Food Co-op,” says Yakini. “The entire 17,000-square-foot first floor is inhabited by the cooperative, and the second floor will house four incubator kitchens, a large common room, and the offices of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.”

The opening of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op depends on funding from the Detroit Food Commons, a $ 15 million project that currently has a funding gap. According to Yakini, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network works with multiple streams of funding, including individual membership purchases, loans, and grants.

“We are on the way to fill this gap and are in talks with many foundations,” he says. “We have a very soft schedule for the summer of 2021 when the construction of the Detroit Food Commons should begin. With additional grant applications, documents, and licenses, there is still a chance that something will stand in the way of this schedule. “

Membership in the Detroit People’s Food Co-op is still open to Michigan state residents over the age of 21.

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Dusty Kennedy