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Detroit People’s Food Co-op Is Inching Toward Opening

Plus, Planted Detroit’s big salads are growing a comeback

The Moroccan salad from Planted Detroit sits in a plastic container on a light pink background. It has tomatoes, greens, olives, and chickpeas. Alicia Gbur/Planted Detroit
Serena Maria Daniels is the editor for Eater Detroit.

The Black-led, community-owned grocery store Detroit People’s Food Co-op is getting ever so close a 2024 opening and is currently looking to hire several individuals for full-time and part-time positions.

A job fair was held January 5 to fill roles in customer service, operations, purchasing, stocking and more. Last year, organizers from the Detroit Black Community Food Sovereignty Network — the group behind the development — announced ambitions to open the much-anticipated grocery cooperative in August 2023. According to Axios Detroit, supply chain issues contributed to delays in construction. In a newsletter published Sunday, January 7, 2024, co-op leadership said an opening date could come sometime this spring, but did not offer any further specifics. The co-op is several years in the making as organizers worked to raise the $15 million initially needed for construction of the 34,000 square-foot community development complex known as the Detroit Food Commons where the co-op will operate on the southeast corner of 8324 Woodward Avenue at Euclid in the city’s North End.

Planted Detroit salads are returning

One of the saddest closures of 2023, according to Metro Times writer Randiah Camille Green, came in August when Islandview indoor hydroponics site Planted Detroit announced it was ceasing operations, effective immediately. The company — which since 2018 has been growing and harvesting fresh micro-greens that has served as the basis for the brand’s delicious boxed salads — is now taking online orders of bundles of five or more throughout metro Detroit. In a January 5 article, Green writes that the salads will also become available inside local Meijer locations sometime this year. The August closure — which company leaders attributed to “unsustainable operation costs,” according to MT — was the second shutter for the business.

To make reopening a reality, Planted Detroit Founder and CEO Tom Adamczyk told the alt-weekly that they partner with a few local collaborators. Assembling the salads will be JLM Manufacturing — a subsidiary of Lipari Foods — while companies Carmela Foods, Frog Holler, and La Grasso Brothers Produce will be tasked with distribution. For the salads’ toppings and dressings, those will be handled by Lipari Foods and local delivery will be done with FULFLLD. Salad greens will continue to be grown in the facility in Islandview and some of the 40 or so workers laid off last summer have been hired back. Prior to the pandemic, Planted’s business model was mostly focused on supplying local restaurants with micro-greens.

Ben’s Friends Relaunches at Freya

Chefs, bartenders, wait staff, and others employed in the hospitality industry who are struggling with issues related to substance abuse are invited to attend weekly meetings each Monday, hosted by the national support group Ben’s Friends, at Freya at 2929 E. Grand Boulevard. The group launched a chapter at Frame in Hazel Park in 2021. Beginning today, January 8, following a weeks-long winter break, the Detroit chapter meetings will be held at Freya moving forward. Anyone dealing with addiction or substance abuse is welcome to attend, however, keep in mind Ben’s Friends is geared toward folks who work in the restaurant industry.

Update: January 9, 2024, 11:45 a.m.: This article was updated to include a detail from Angela Lugo-Thomas, a Detroit People’s Co-Op board member who handles communications for the organization. She says that the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network changed its name to the Detroit Black Community Food Sovereignty Network in late 2023.