Top Ten Reasons Why Eastern Market is and will remain Detroit's most "True Green" neighborhood
True Green combines economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and social equity
10. Evolving a Public Market on a solid historic foundation
Green is all about using existing assets and Eastern Market takes advantage of one of our greatest assets - rich agricultural diversity that is second only to California in the number of crops grown locally.
9. Passionate revitalization participants
Eastern Market, despite population loss and economic turmoil, remains a place of intense urban activity and commerce. Recent market survey work reveals not only that upwards two million people visit the market each year but that those who come care very deeply about this place.
8. Add new development and leverage existing infrastructure
Leveraging previous public investment in facilities and infrastructure is another key green component. We have a diversified building stock that offers renovation opportunities as well as vacant land to accommodate new facilities.
7. Proximity to other important assets
Eastern Market is close to Midtown, Downtown, Lafayette Park, and the Riverfront. This proximity provides an important and unique building block to creating a viable urban core at the heart of Detroit.
6. Celebration of diverse food cultures
The agricultural diversity of Michigan is only one reason for our rich local food culture. Key ethnic groups including Italians, Arab-Americans, Latinos, and African-Americans and others have contributed their food cultures to the kettle - yielding a mighty tasty and uniquely Detroit gumbo.
5. Full integration of food, housing, and access to work
More than 125 residents live in Eastern Market and our draft Economic Development Strategy indicates room for 600 more residences. Living green means easy access to jobs and food by foot or bike and no neighborhood can do that better than Eastern Market and those neighborhoods which abut.
4. Focus on small, independently owned business
More than 175 vendors sell products under the sheds at Eastern Market while another 125 businesses operate in the Eastern Market District. These vendors and merchants are hard survivors who will endure the current economic stress and come out the other side as significant job generators.
3. Energy efficient operations
Eastern Market provides year-round retailing with only one shed partially heated. It doesn't get much more efficient than that. However, to make the market function better and attract more customers the addition of heat and some cooling is critical. To insure low operating costs it is imperative that systems like geo-thermal, which uses the steady temperature of ground water or methane produced from nearby waste streams, be utilized to provide improved climate control without adding to Eastern Market operating costs.
2. Improving Detroit's public health
The rich diversity of Michigan's agriculture and the strong local food culture does not always translate to healthy eating choices. Eastern Market is an important source for healthy food now, but needs to play a much larger role in expanding both the supply of and demand for healthy food. This can be done by attracting more people to the market, by increasing educational outreach regarding the connection between our diets and our health, and by developing innovate ways to get the healthy food that comes through our wholesale markets into the diets of Detroit residents that cannot get to Eastern Market.
1. Local food system hub
It's estimated that if 25% of our food could be sourced locally it would generate nearly 5,000 jobs, create $20 million in new local taxes, and $125 million in new household income. A more robust local food system built on the strong local food foundation here at Eastern Market can improve our environment while rebuilding our economy.
We already process, distribute, and sell food at Eastern Market. We need to improve and expand how we do those things while we complete a real food system by educating people about how to eat, assisting in the expansion of food production from within the city and the region, and by capturing the nutrients of what we refer to as waste to restore the productivity of our soil.
True Green is not just about one thing like energy efficiency or alternative energy development - it's about thinking more strategically and systematically about the economic vitality, social equity, and environmental sustainability of our city.
A robust local food system not only creates jobs and grows incomes but improves the health of our most vulnerable residents and enhances our natural environment.