By: Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko

The Local Food Safety Collaborative (LFSC) continues to grow! Earlier this year, Michigan Farmers Union (MIFU) partnered with Keep Growing Detroit (KGD), an organization that supports greater food sovereignty, provides education to urban farmers and gardeners, and cultivates community connections in the Detroit area. Their vision is of a city where food is not only grown in every neighborhood, but also one where food production is integrated into the fabric of the community while helping to maximize economic and community development opportunities that benefit its residents. Read on to learn more about KGD and its food safety work.

Who are you? 
Keep Growing Detroit (KGD) is cultivating a food sovereign city where the majority of fruits and vegetables consumed by Detroiters are grown by residents within the city’s limits. We operate a number of nationally recognized programs including the Garden Resource Program supporting a network of urban gardens and farms in the city as well as Grown in Detroit, which provides urban growers with very low-barrier opportunities to sell the fruits and vegetables they grow at local market outlets. KGD also operates a 1.3-acre urban farm where we model and share sustainable agriculture practices.

Who do you work with?
Last year, KGD supported 26,935 residents in 1,937 gardens and farms across Detroit. Together, we grew 484,250 pounds of fresh produce for our community. To provide guidance and support to the growers we serve during the pandemic, KGD hosted 43 online educational events focused on climate-friendly farming and cooking practices that were attended by 865 unique individuals. Recordings of these events were viewed by thousands more via our social media platforms and YouTube page.

Why is the Local Food Safety Collaborative work important to the people you serve?
We’re excited to be a part of the Local Food Safety Collaborative to learn more [about food safety] from local and national experts and share what we learn with the growers we serve in Detroit. We’re also happy to share our experience and best practices with the collaborative.

What are you excited about for 2021-22?
We’re excited to assist market gardeners with their 2022 farm plans this winter! We’re also working on ways to help them improve their harvest practices and washing/packing infrastructure.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from a farmer about food safety?
If you use a rainwater catchment system to irrigate crops, check the tanks weekly for algae, bird dropping, and other contaminants. Treat at least monthly with 1oz kitchen bleach per 55 gallons of water to prevent algae, E.coli, and other contaminants. Let treated water sit for 24 hours before using it.

Interested in food safety resources? Please visit the Local Food Safety Collaborative website along with the Food Safety Resource Clearinghouse for a curated source of food safety guides, factsheets, templates, and more. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the latest food safety news. 

This project website is supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award 1U01FD006921-01 totaling $1,000,000 with 100 percent funded by FDA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by FDA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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