In March, Victory Garden Initiative was invited to attend the Detroit Food Policy Summit as a member of the Midwest Food Council. Gretchen Mead and Beverly Tyree attended to learn, participate, and be inspired. Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places – Detroit is steeped in inspiration from many different places and people.
Meet Michael Wimberly “Mike”:
Mike greeted each visitor with a firm handshake, a smile, and an introduction “Hello, welcome, my name is Mike”. After the introductions, he introduced everyone to Detroit Friends Potatoes and shared his mission, humble beginnings, and inspired sense of humor. “Some of the potatoes for these were born on a vacant lot in Detroit’s Hope District. They were nursed in our soup kitchen for the mentally and physically challenged. They are made by community activists in an effort to bring work, hope and dignity to our vulnerable community. Some proceeds go to maintain the soup kitchen and to create other financially sustainable grassroots projects.” Mike shared that they planted potatoes on one of the many vacant lots, hoping to sell them. This was not to be and they were left with many potatoes. With much determination and many failed attempts, the Detroit Friends Potatoes were born. Volunteers and neighbors alike joined forces to support those in need.
Meet the Rap Boys:
These boys shared their nutritious food rap about McDonalds on the corner, grocery stores filled with potato chips, and choosing fresh vegetables instead. The rap was energetic, fast, and meaningful.Other community groups that we met were people who run the Detroit School District’s Farm lunch program, the owner of The Farmers’ Hand who works with Michigan farmers and products to highlight locally grown and produced products, and many more.
After visiting the many individuals that are all taking part in changing food access, community vibrancy, and the overall food system in Detroit, one thing became more evident: grassroots efforts are the answer. All of these individuals are taking action directly in their community, working themselves to impact the needs around them, just like Victory Garden Initiative. Join us in creating this vibrancy in Wisconsin!