Week 2: HOPE Village Revitalization – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 2: HOPE Village Revitalization

My community placement is HOPE Village Revitalization, a community-led, community-driven non-profit organization focused on creating a sustainable, equitable, and healthy neighborhood with a high quality of life for all. They are a relatively new organization, as they broke off from Focus: HOPE last year in order to become more community-centered. Their mission is to move the HOPE Village neighborhood forward in a way that mitigates disparities in wealth, privilege, and educational resources. They pledge to collaborate and be part of the collective working toward equitable and sustainable development in Detroit, ultimately making every HOPE Village resident a stakeholder in their community. Their main projects include a weekly Farmers Market, revitalizing four parks and three brownfield properties, creating affordable sustainable housing, and maintaining a community garden.

My summer research project is to evaluate the fresh local food systems in the HOPE Village neighborhood. This includes increasing the impact of their Farmers Market and community gardens, with a central focus on the Farmers Market. HOPE Village is running their first independent market this summer, which is to be a hub of community connection with neighbors, health resources, art/cultural expression through performances and showcases, and an opportunity to support local business owners and purchase affordable produce. Due to COVID-19, HOPE Village has to limit the park capacity to 100 people, so there will not be as many art exhibits and community activities as previously planned.

My first few weeks with my placement have not been what I expected, but nevertheless wonderful! I love being able to talk to community members and local organizations, even from a virtual setting. I was able to join community Zoom calls, meet community members, and support their concerns, especially with the emotional trauma from George Floyd’s death. My supervisor also let me join calls with HOPE Village partner organizations and vendors, such as Wayne State, UMich, Eastern Market, and Detroit Community Markets. I have also been using Canva A LOT to make flyers, information pamphlets, and booklets about the Farmers Market. This week, I have been helping the website manager design HOPE Village’s new website to accurately feature community events and Farmers Market information and create a Facebook and Instagram (go follow @hopevillagedetroit !). In the coming weeks, I will probably be analyzing Farmers Market numbers using a couple of surveys that I created in my first week.

Connecting with the DCERP fellows has been wonderful so far. I love everyone’s kind messages in the GroupMe and engaging with some fellows on 1:1 calls. I didn’t realize there would be a lot of overlap, but HOPE Village has been partnering with some of the fellows’ organizations and it’s been great to talk with fellows who are working on projects similar to mine (shoutout to Saida and Ecoworks)! I feel like we would all be able to get to know each other better in person, but hopefully we can meet together sometime in the fall 🙂 I am looking forward to continuing to hear about your stories and work in our placements!

3 thoughts on “Week 2: HOPE Village Revitalization”

  1. Hey Ysabel! I’m so glad that you are enjoying your placement with HOPE Village Revitalization. I especially love how the goal of HOPE Village Revitalization is to be more community based, and that they will allow every resident to be a stakeholder in the success of their community. I definitely believe that if the community individuals themselves are able to make contributions to the success of their community, not just the community leaders, the community will make a really big move in the right direction! And I love how the HOPE Village is having it’s first market soon, and not just with food, but for cultural and local satiation as well. I believe events like that will be able to bring communities together, since they are celebrating their strengths and culture. And I’m total jealous that you are meeting the community members themselves. I enjoy brainstorming solutions with the community leaders, but wish I could meet the community members themselves to hear their anecdotes and what they need from us (or how they believe they can contribute to our action plans). I really do hope that we can also meet in the fall too – there’s only so many cooking demos we can do together via Zoom lol (even though those are fun!). Good luck with the rest of your internship!

  2. Your project sounds awesome! It’s really cool that you get to engage with community members like that – it’s the main reason why I wanted to do the DCERP program. I’m really interested in building sustainable food systems and such a huge part of that is sourcing our food locally, partly to keep money circulating within a community and partly because it’s just better for the earth. I look forward to learning more about your project!

  3. Hey, your project sounds really exciting! I am also passionate about your organization’s mission and I’m excited to see the work you accomplish. Hopefully, I am able to attend one of the market days or one of the exhibits in the future! Good luck with your accomplishment:)

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