Food Service & Agriculture, Sustainability, and Travel & Tourism

Eastern Market shares growth recipe

January 10, 2014
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Eastern Market shares growth recipe
Dan Carmody. Photo via wmsbf.org

When the Downtown Market was first announced, one of its top selling points was its promise to spur economic development by fostering a network of relationships between farmers, vendors, retailers, neighborhood organizations and shoppers.

It will be some time yet before the community really sees the impact of the Downtown Market, but if other local markets and food systems around the state are any indication, the outlook is good.

The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon program on Monday at the Downtown Market, examining the importance of food systems in economic development and community sustainability.

Eastern Market exec

Dan Carmody, president of Detroit’s Eastern Market, is one of the luncheon’s featured speakers.

During his presentation, Carmody will use Detroit as a case study to discuss how the food sector can create new ventures and jobs, while helping to reposition food in the consciousness of consumers.

Detroit’s Eastern Market is one of the city’s current saving graces, drawing thousands of shoppers on Saturday throughout the year. The shoppers support more than 250 vendors who have local products available at the market.

The market is such a community hot spot that it recently received a $750,000 grant to build a 200-seat social gathering area, part of a larger $3.9-million renovation project that also includes a community kitchen to help launch more food startups.

Carmody believes that developing stronger regional food systems can improve both the physical and economic health of metropolitan areas.

Market Ventures

Also on tap to speak during the luncheon is Ted Spitzer, who is a nationally recognized expert on food markets and alternative local food systems and president of Market Ventures.

Spitzer will discuss the Downtown Market project and, specifically, how the Downtown Market was designed to impact its neighborhood and community.

Experts from Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE, which collaborated with Spitzer on the Downtown Market, will join him for the discussion.

Other speakers include Melissa Harrington of Fulton Street Farmers Market and Crystal Lecoy of Downtown Market.

Tickets

The luncheon will run from noon-2 p.m.

The cost for lunch is $10 for members or $15 for non-members.

Attendees can RSVP online.

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