The co-working office space that I am working in, Green Garage, is a true wonder. Dating back to the 1920s, the building originally served as a showroom for Model-T based automobiles and was renovated in 2008 into the Green Garage. It currently hosts fifty-two small businesses, forming a diverse, supportive working community. Touring around the building, I was struck by its sustainable design and practices. Its hybrid heating and cooling system, moisture controlled ventilation system, and super detailed garbage classification all greatly impressed me. In addition, to enhance the sense of community among co-workers, there are weekly community walks and community talks during lunch hour. This Friday, the community talk was centered on El-Moore, the new residential/co-working space bought by the same owners as Green Garage. Guests of this talk were from Smith Shop, a local craft-oriented metalworking studio that in my opinion, embodies the entrepreneurial and do-it-yourself spirit that permeates Detroit.
The organization that I will be working with for the next two months, Detroit Food Academy, also made me feel very welcomed to the city. DFA is a non-profit dedicated to fostering youth leadership and business skill through culinary art. Bryce, my colleague, and I are given the project of designing farmers’ market stands that both promote DFA and bring in extra revenue by selling a student hand-crafted snack called the Mitten Bites. To give us more context for our work, Jake, a DFA employee, brought us to the Corktown Market and Northwest Market in Detroit on our second day of work. There, we were able to not only see how the DFA stand currently operates, but also experience the atmosphere of a farmers’ market and talk with the local vendors. On Friday, Bryce and I got to further explore our surroundings by visiting a community garden in which the DFA is tending a plot of land. The garden looked beautiful with blooming flowers and ripening vegetation.
This is a week filled with pleasant surprises. I am so glad to have the opportunity to meet and work with all the amazing people who are rebuilding Detroit. In the upcoming seven weeks, I look forward to get my project off the ground and to further explore and learn about this city.