Detroit, MI - Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Acting Director Kathy Angerer toured the Eastern Market accelerator property, GROW Eastern Market wholesale shed, and the Michigan Farm to Freezer manufacturing facility in the Eastern Market district on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.
“Every Michigander should have access to nutritious, affordable food in their community," said Acting Director Kathy Angerer. "Eastern Market is a proud example of a community, small businesses, and agricultural entrepreneurs coming together to embrace innovation to advance Michigan economy while ensuring healthy and affordable food is available for Michiganders in Metro-Detroit and beyond.”
Eastern Market and the adjacent district in Detroit are rare finds - a local food district with more than 500 independent vendors and merchants processing, wholesaling, and retailing food. At the heart of Eastern Market is a six-block public market nourishing Detroit since 1891.
Eastern Market recognized a need for a facility to help small food brands increase their production capabilities. To meet those needs, Eastern Market developed FEAST, Food Entrepreneur Accelerator, and Start Up Terminal, to help food entrepreneurs grow by giving them a place to produce their products.
Five suites within the property are licensed by MDARD, and these businesses are on track to scale from $100,000 to $1 million.
FEAST aims to empower local food brands to compete with national brands through the support of their supply chain and retail partners, local nonprofits, and government agencies. FEAST now supports more than 40 companies and makes over 100 different SKUs.
GROW Eastern Market (GEM) is Detroit’s locavore wholesale connection. The mission of GEM is to increase access to local produce by brokering farm-to-fork relationships with institutional buyers (chefs, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, and other wholesale markets) to create and expand new market channels for Michigan’s small and emerging growers.
Michigan Farm to Freezer exists to provide Michiganders greater access to the beautiful bounty of our state’s resources. The program focuses on quality consumer products while reducing waste and supporting local Michigan farmers.
Throughout 2023, members of MDARD will meet with Michigan's food and agricultural businesses to discuss how they can continue to succeed and how best MDARD can assist their continuous growth and expansion.