Grants designed to boost local food business in SE Mich. - FOX 32 News Chicago

Grants designed to boost local food business in SE Mich.

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Detroit's local food industry is getting another big boost.

Eastern Market Corps. is partnering with the Charter One Bank and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and increase the line of healthy food to under served neighborhoods.

Part of the initiative include $100,000 in grants to 30 urban farmers and small food businesses around the area. We're talking about locations in Detroit, Rochester, Hamtramck, Oak Park, Novi, Clinton Township and more.

The grants were awarded in three areas: land to transform vacant city lots into urban farms, equipment needed for business operations, and signage and displays to help small food producers sell their wares.

"Great businesses help small businesses grow by giving them grants and with those grants, they're going to take that money and it's going to help them be successful," said Ken Marblestone, President of Charter One.

"We're going to be able to surround the downtown area to bring more people here to shop at (Eastern Market)," said Ed Deeb, CEO of Michigan Food and Beverage Association. "I'm very excited. I know vendors are excited. There will be more business for this area."

Michigan is second in the nation in agricultural diversity, but just 19th in the nation in food processing.

The folks involved in this effort say there is a lot of room for improvement and they are sure hoping these grants help.

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