Food Academy started its summer program this past week and everything that we’ve been building up to was happening. Food Academy is about the kids and about creating young leaders. I really do believe that, but an idea in your heart sells a lot better than reality. When the first day of the program arrived I felt like I did any other day and I was tired and so were the kids and there were a lot of logistics to go over. It was not as exciting as the story Kiran and I were selling last week when we basically proclaimed that these kids were going to change Detroit!
I’m starting to realize that this whole revitalization, rebirth or whatever you want to call it will take time. People are proud of Detroit, but they still get tired. There are mistakes to be made and be learned from, but still they must be made. At the end of the day people are just doing the best they can. When Kiran and I first started selling the mitten bites at the market we were fast talking, smiling, and selling and now we’ve settled into our roles. We aren’t as jumpy as we were before and I think that happens with everyone. I see the sparkle in Jen’s eyes when she is selling Food Academy, but I also see her stressed and running around and dealing with problems she thought were over. The thing is, it’s never over. It only gets better (or worse), but this process of doing something you believe, I’m learning isn’t something you only do when you’re excited and gung-ho. It’s something you do when you’re tired and when things aren’t going your way and when stuff is slowing down.
This week we were supposed to observe what’s around us. And what I saw was people just getting on day to day. There was a man playing his trumpet outside the opera house with his bucket, who didn’t ask for money and there was the barista who helped me pick coffee, but didn’t push me to buy either way. I ate with a man who was the CEO of a company right when the economy tanked who assured me it was fine to eat ribs with my hands. Normal people just getting by…. There’s excitement in this city, but most of all, there’s authenticity.