Week 10 Reflections – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 10 Reflections

As I read through my first blog post of the summer, I realize that I had fairly accurate expectations for the 10 weeks that lied ahead of me. I think that living in Dearborn and being in relatively close proximity to Detroit, in addition to having studied the history of Detroit in courses prior to the program prepared me to have an even more engaging and thought-provoking experience while here.

I will admit that my experiential knowledge of Detroit prior to living and working here was in some respects limited to what I learned through “voluntourism“. But it was recognizing this dilemma after my initial experiences that provoked me to pursue opportunities that made more meaningful contributions to the city of Detroit. I’ve come to realize that this is a step many are unwilling to take, and subsequently how inaccurate perceptions and misrepresentations of Detroit are perpetuated.

By devoting my time to making more meaningful contributions to Detroit and it’s people, my love and respect for this place has grown broader, and much deeper. I had the opportunity to listen to, learn from, and honor the lived experiences of individuals and communities. I feel as though I will be going back to Dearborn with a far more acute sense of the struggles and opportunities that this city represents.

Throughout the summer, I was able to explore places and meet people that I otherwise would never have encountered. I felt I was able to immerse myself in cultures and experiences that I would have otherwise remained blissfully unaware of. Detroit is filled with extraordinary people and places that many will never have the opportunity to see, in fear that of leaving the comfort of homogeneity. I’ve come to realize that despite popular opinion, the diversity of this the city is one of its most valuable assets. I sincerely hope that that is never lost to gentrification.

In my initial letter to myself, I think I was unprepared or perhaps unaware of how quickly 10 weeks would go by. During my time at FoodLab, I’ve developed a love, appreciation and respect for the wonderful ladies who dedicate their time and energy to FoodLab. I am truly sad that my time is winding down and that I won’t be seeing them every day. To me, they are more than just co-workers or supervisors, but great friends. My experience with FoodLab this summer has dramatically influenced where I hope to be in a year’s time, as well as what I hope to do in the more distant future. Each day that I entered the Green Garage, I came in with the understanding that the work I was doing was not just to fulfill internship requirements, but for a purpose much greater than myself, FoodLab,or Detroit.

I am so grateful for my experience this summer, and the opportunity to contribute to the work that is being done at FoodLab, and within the broader good-food, social justice and food justice movements. I feel as though there is still so much to be done, and so much that I can do to contribute. While my time with DCBRP is over, I can say that my time in Detroit is not.


This picture was taken at Good Cakes and Bakes at FoodLab’s New Member Meet-Up! Jess (on the lower left) and Ajara (on the upper left) also work for FoodLab and made my summer super fun!

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