Food And Drinks

Wayne State University, Detroit Food Policy Council and members of the Detroit Grocery Coalition launch Great Grocer Project to bolster community connections, nutrition and food access in Detroit – [email protected]


DETROIT – Wayne State University, the Detroit Food Policy Council and members of the Detroit Grocery Coalition today announced the Great Grocer Project, a community-based program designed to strengthen relationships between independent grocery stores and their customers in Detroit and to support awareness and sales of healthy foods that promote economic vitality in the Detroit neighborhoods.

Detroit has nearly 70 full-service grocery stores, almost all of which are family or independently owned. These grocers have played a vital role in maintaining food access in their neighborhood in the past and were especially important when Detroiters crack down on the coronavirus pandemic. The program – funded as a three-year project by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and one year from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – is a joint initiative of the Wayne State University College of Education’s Center for Health and Community Impact and the Detroit Food Policy Council. The Great Grocer Project aims to empower Detroit grocers to improve the health and economic vitality of the population through leading and advancing research, programs and strategies for healthy living.

The Great Grocer Project will also train and host fellows in seven community organizations who will then set up a grocery store in each Detroit district. The Fellows will work with shopkeepers to help them better compete with large grocery stores by improving their relationships and communication with customers, and by performing food and nutrition assessments in their stores.

Partners and members of the Detroit Grocery Coalition are the Detroit City Health Department and Sustainability Department, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Detroit Food Map Initiative, Eastern Market, Midwest Independent Retailers Association, Fair Food Network, and National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

“Too often Detroiters choose to shop outside of the city for their groceries and healthy groceries,” said Rachael Dombrowski, who jointly lead the Great Grocer Project. “We want to reverse this tide and showcase grocers who offer quality, affordable and healthy food to their customers in the city. By working directly with store owners and community organizations, we seek to improve their relationships, the Detroit food landscape, and the general economic vitality of the communities. “

Dombrowski is also an assistant professor of community health education in the Kinesiology, Health and Exercise Studies Department of the College of Education and a research fellow at the Center for Health and Community Impact. Her research focuses on community-based programs to improve nutritional and health outcomes and promote food justice.

In addition to providing direct support to store owners, the Great Grocer Project will partner with 10 world class stores to improve their marketing and display of healthy foods by enhancing the look and feel of certain areas of the store and creating recipes and shelf labels to display nutritious foods and enable many further environmental improvements.

“We saw the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic in our communities and now we know how effective good nutrition can be in preventing death from coronavirus,” said Winona Bynum, executive director of the Detroit Food Policy Council and co-director of Great Grocery project. “We also learned the importance of having access to a healthy grocery store over the past year. We look forward to continuing to work with our Detroit grocers and our community partners to improve access to the high quality, nutrient-dense foods needed for good health now and well beyond this pandemic. “

To learn more about the Great Grocer Project, contact Rachael Dombrowski at [email protected] or visit the Detroit Food Policy Council website at

This work is supported by the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (Grant # 2020-33800-33132 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. All opinions, results, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect our view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Via Wayne State University College of Education

Anchored by its commitment to social justice, equity and inclusive excellence, the College of Education offers highly recognized degree programs in 37 areas, including teacher training, counseling, educational leadership and policy studies, educational psychology, educational research and evaluation, exercise and sports science, learning design and technology as well as sports administration. For more information, see

Via the Center for Health and Community Impact

The Center for Health and Community Impact brings together educators, clinicians, scientists, and community leaders who are committed to promoting health, wellbeing, equity, and life success in all communities at the local, regional, and national levels to promote community health and vitality various and inclusive programs and advocacy to improve and research. For more information, see

About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution, serving approximately 350 academic programs in 13 schools and colleges to more than 26,000 students. More information is available at

Via the Detroit Food Policy Council

Founded in 2009, the Detroit Food Policy Council is committed to promoting the development and maintenance of a sustainable, localized food system and a food-safe city of Detroit where all residents can benefit from the hunger-free, healthy, and economical food system that affects their lives. To learn more, visit


Dusty Kennedy