There are no major grocery stores within the boundaries of the neighborhood of Brightmoor. The neighborhood is decisively a food desert, as the residents lack adequate accessibility to produce and nutrition education. Our community of neighbors and volunteers founded Neighbors Building Brightmoor (NBB), an organization that has transformed a neighborhood with crumbling infrastructure and blight into a safer, cleaner space. NBB has also established what has been coined the Brightmoor Farmway, which has become an integral part of the neighborhood, resplendent with gardens, greenhouses, and parks.
Growing naturally out of the opportunities created by Neighbors Building Brightmoor, Brightmoor Artisans Collective (BAC) envisions Brightmoor as a healthy, sustainable and equitable community whose local economy supports the production and distribution of skillfully crafted products. We seek to create and maintain a safe space where community members can creatively work and learn together to process, market, and consume affordable, healthy food.
Brightmoor Artisans Collective has four main components: the Artisans Cafe (and a weekly Farmers’ Market in the parking lot during the appropriate season), the Commercial Kitchen, the Kitchen Classroom, and the Community Creation Space.
The Artisans Cafe is currently under construction, but it is anticipated to be open in January. The idea for this space is to offer four types of food: Ready to Eat (soup, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, etc. prepared by our youth staff with produce from the neighborhood), Fresh Produce (sold in a collaborative market style through the cafe, but from all of our gardens in the neighborhood), Dried Bulk Goods (rice, beans, spices, etc.), and Value-added products (sauces, jams, pickles, etc. prepared by the food entrepreneurs that use the commercial kitchen for processing). In the future, we intend to distribute bagged lunches and host “Breakfast at BAC,” offering a warm meal to kids and families on their way to school. 2017 will mark our third Farmers’ Market season at BAC. We have a large event the first Friday of each month with live performances, activities, and a standard collaborative booth sponsored by all of the growers for the rest of the month. These markets are hosted June through October, every Friday from 4-7 pm.
The Commercial Kitchen is currently pending commercial licensing. In the near future, we will be fully licensed by the state and the health department. Our hope for this space is to provide a resource to those growing produce in the neighborhood in effort to increase their economic capacity as well as the shelf life and monetary worth of their products. In this space, we have two walk in coolers, one walk in freezer, four 8′ prep tables, two produce sinks, one three-compartment sink, a dishwasher, a dehydrator, a stove, a grain mill, a food processor, and a plethora of other commercially rated kitchen equipment for use.
The Kitchen Classroom has seating for 12-16, a projector, and a full set of cookware for each pair of students including electric burners, pots, pans, utensils, etc. Currently, we host a weekly class through Gleaners’ Cooking Matters program for ages 8-12. These classes take place Wednesday evenings from 6-8 pm. We are currently working to add several more weekly youth or family cooking/nutrition classes in 2017. This space is also used to host food entrepreneur and food related classes by partnering with other organizations such as Keep Growing Detroit (this year they hosted a food preservation/fermentation class) and Food Lab (this year they hosted a workshop on how to navigate commercial kitchens and getting your food business license). We currently host a serving of free meals to anyone who stops by sponsored by Motown Meals each month on the last Sunday.
The Community Creation Space has daily programming nearly year-round. Currently, our schedule spans five days. Monday through Thursday, we host a variety of mental and physical health activities: a homework help/character building workshop, knitting/weaving classes, yoga, book club, playtime for toddlers, creative writing workshops, etc. On Fridays, we try to bring families together with movie nights, board game nights, and community music nights.
We aim to provide artisans and entrepreneurs the opportunity to cultivate their businesses through creating value-added food products with the opportunity to increase the accessibility of these goods to the neighborhood. The kitchen will serve as a safe community space, café, food business incubator, and classroom where neighbors can gather to purchase affordable products, eat good food together, and share ideas.
Brightmoor Artisans Collective meets on the second Monday of each month from 7-8pm. Stop in to see what’s going on at BAC!