From farm to table, revitalization and conviviality in Detroit

Jul 16, 2012

The economic crisis that hit Detroit in 2008 had a surround sound impact. The auto industry collapsed, crime increased, and residents fled. For those who stuck around the ‘Motor City’ the availability and accessibility of corner markets and grocery stores - among other critical staples for living - diminished. Yet today, the city’s Eastern Market, best known for its regional food vendors, is poised to transform the community and fulfill a critical need by providing fresh, locally-based foods in a city where many grocery stores remain closed. 
Bank of America has been a proud supporter of Eastern Market’s revitalization, most recently through a $500,000 major capital grant to help builds its premier historic shed as part of the capital improvements. Additionally, the bank is responsible for financing smaller grants to support market initiatives and bank employees often volunteer at many of the market’s special events.

“Whether it’s the bank’s financial support, or sponsoring and volunteering at Flower Day, or funding the building of a gazebo, Bank of America has been a great partner to the market,” said Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corporation.

Founded in 1891, Eastern Market boasts locally grown produce and fresh-cut flowers, homemade jams and grass-fed meat. As many as 40,000 people flock each Saturday morning to enjoy a most authentic sensory and culinary experience. 

What’s more, the market’s recent revitalization has turned it into a ‘food hub’ for the community. Plans are also underway for significant improvements that include rehabbed facilities and a community market garden that will serve as a conduit to rebuilding the local food system.  

This reinvigoration of Eastern Market – which is home to 250 vendors surrounded by 80 food-related businesses and distributors – also makes it fertile ground for growing, testing and hiring in a hard-hit community that desperately needs new jobs. 

“Bank of America understands that small business innovators are responsible for the growth and opportunity in our economy,” said Tiffany Douglas, a Bank of America senior vice president and market manager. “Eastern Market is an ideal example of that model where many vendors come together to market their products, create jobs and influence the fabric of our great city.” 

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