Economic Injustice within the Food Systems

There exist two grocery stores owned and or operated by African Americans in Detroit.  It is unknown whether any food wholesalers, farmers, distributors or food processing facilities providing food for the city of Detroit are owned, operated, or even hire Detroiters, specifically African-Americans; or if any of the food products consumed in our community were developed by people from our community.  Aside from cashiers, baggers, stock persons and a few butchers, Detroiters, specifically African-Americans are absent from the food system.  Our primary and predominant role is that of consumer.

Detroit’s majority population must be represented at all levels and in all aspects of the food system.  Having an economic/agricultural safety net to support the most vulnerable in our community should be included in our goals.  Redefining wealth and prosperity within our social relationships and spiritual values will be a major step towards ensuring economic justice.

Actions Needed:

  • Identify and eliminate barriers to African-American participation and ownership in all aspects of the food system.
  • Explore providing employment and re-distribution of wealth through cooperative community ownership.
  • Convene dialogues and create partnerships with local universities and national organizations advocating for African-American communities to develop entrepreneurship and low-cost loan programs which encourage African American entrepreneurship.
  • Hold those accountable within the food system that profit from Detroiters to integrate Detroiters into their operations at all levels.
  • Develop frameworks for providing business incentives (such as tax incentives, small business loans, etc.) so that businesses that receive public subsidies return maximal benefits to the surrounding community in terms of healthy food access, local employment and other forms of community responsiveness.  Such frameworks should be developed in collaboration with community organizations and residents. Incentives should support stores development and improvement in currently underserved neighborhoods.

Explore The Detroit Food Policy

The Detroit Food Policy was unanimously adopted by the Detroit City Council on March 15, 2008

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