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Families find fresh, locally grown food at Keep Growing Detroit’s Online Farm Store

This sponsored story is brought to you by Keep Growing Detroit.

When Sean Bourke moved back to Detroit, after living three years in Northern Michigan, he wanted to prioritize access to fresh and affordable food. After living in and around farms where he had easy outlets for fresh produce, Bourke sought the same type of food, quality, and availability when he moved back to the city.

But then he learned about Keep Growing Detroit’s Online Farm Store.

“I shop and pick up weekly using the online store for me, my partner, and our 10-month old. I am amazed by the quality and variety,” Bourke said. 

And not only can Bourke shop for locally grown greens, beets, carrots, and more, but he can use his EBT card to extend his family’s food budget. 

“I was so happy and surprised to learn that I could use EBT to shop online with the Keep Growing Detroit Farm Store,” he said.

Sean Bourke. Courtesy photo.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Keep Growing Detroit, known by many for their Grown in Detroit stand at Eastern Market, created the online platform and curbside pickup program so they could continue to give Detroiters access to affordable and locally grown produce while practicing safe social distancing. 

The local nonprofit hosts weekly pickups of items ordered online at their farm in Detroit. Much of the produce comes from its Garden Resource Program growers across Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck, who receive support including seeds and transplants. Growers who partner with Keep Growing Detroit to sell keep 100% of the profit.

“With the pandemic, the Online Farm Store was born as a way to continue providing fresh, local, and sustainable fruits and veggies in a healthy and safe way,” said Danielle Daguio, who works for Keep Growing Detroit as a fundraising and data specialist. “All customers receive the same, high-quality food, no matter what. And, we often harvest and sell the same day.”  

Curbside at the farm, Online Farm Store customers who utilize Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), bring their Bridge Card and staff assist in completing the transaction. Photo by Val Waller.

Beekeeper, Garden Resource Program member, and 2020 Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund awardee, Tish Tansil sells her honey both at the Grown in Detroit stand in Eastern Market and through the Online Farm Store. Just like all the products offered, her honey is eligible for purchase with a Bridge Card. “When you buy my honey you can use Double Up Bucks to go towards other food as well,” Tansil said.

Double Up Food Bucks is a program through Fair Food Network and the State of Michigan which gives EBT/ Bridge Card holders a dollar-for-dollar match on fresh fruits and veggies, up to $50 a day. The program is separate from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program. Staff can sign up new recipients for the program on-site at Keep Growing Detroit’s farm. Both in-person and online, Keep Growing Detroit customers have the option to pay for their groceries using a variety of methods, including CashApp.

Tish Tansil sells her honey at Keep Growing Detroit. Photo by Val Waller.

Though some Detroit neighborhoods are considered food apartheids with limited access to full-service grocery stores, Keep Growing Detroit’s network of majority Black and brown growers are a force in providing access to affordable, quality food for Detroiters and residents of Hamtramck and Highland Park., Keep Growing Detroit’s network of majority Black and brown growers are a force in providing access to affordable, quality food for Detroiters and residents of Hamtramck and Highland Park.

“In Detroit, it has been historically tough to get fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods,” longtime KGD customer Deon Hamilton and Garden Resource Program Member said. “Most healthy stores are outside the city or priced outside people’s reach. I want more Detroiters to learn about this wonderful resource.”

Deon Hamilton picks up his weekly order at Keep Growing Detroit. Photo by Val Waller.

Customers say they continue to return to Keep Growing Detroit not only because of the exceptional local produce but also because of the sense of community they’ve built with growers and staff. “I love carrots, so it was really cool to be able to meet one of the growers,” said Bourke. 

“They know my wife and my daughters. It’s been really great loading the kids up and having the staff meet my family,” said Hamilton. “Between the food and the people, this is the foundation of how our city will heal.”


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