Week Three: Observations – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Three: Observations

Currently as an intern at FoodLab: Detroit, I have been able to observe the community, my organization serves, in ways I would not have noticed as someone casually passing by. Working with my organization has allowed me to see the positive impacts that arise from their community engagement initiatives. FoodLab makes it a particular priority to support marginalized individuals, that reside in the Metro-Detroit area, during their process of creating, cultivating, and catalyzing sustainable food businesses. I have been able to observe how local food businesses, and the entrepreneurs running them, have had big impacts on their local communities in Detroit.

For example, I have been able to observe, first-hand, how residents in local communities value and appreciate having locally owned food businesses that hire employees from the local community, inquire about community interests, and give back to the community they profit and grow from. I have also gotten the privilege to observe how residents take pride in feeling like their community potentially has some ownership, relationship with, or “say-so” over what happens with the businesses in their neighborhoods, and how the businesses potential absence, presence, or ethics affects their community.

In the picture attached below, I am mapping out the locations of ALL food businesses in the city of Detroit. I am doing this in order to discover the areas of the city where the majority of food businesses, and the types of food businesses, in the city reside. However, this will also allow me to discover the sectors in Detroit where there is a lack of healthy and sustainable food businesses, and this is where the members of FoodLab and I will come in and help by supporting local business owners to potentially move into these areas!

1 thought on “Week Three: Observations”

  1. Josephine Kate Graham

    Rashad, I love reading about your work at FoodLab. It is such a unique organization, and I am learning a lot from you about local food businesses in Detroit and how business comes together with community and service work. Keep up the good work! Your mapping of the city looks intense, but also really exciting.

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