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‘What’s on your plate?’ gathers Detroiters to activate and celebrate our food system

By Kibibi Blount-Dorn
Special to the Michigan Ctiizen

The Detroit Food Policy Council invites you to join us for our third annual summit April 4-6. This year’s theme is “What’s On Your Plate?” This year’s summit will engage Detroiters in the local food system and celebrate our vibrant local food culture. The Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative is co-hosting this event.

This year’s summit will feature the launch of our annual Food System Report and the Detroit Food Finder. Nikki Henderson will deliver the keynote address on April 4. Henderson is the executive director of The People’s Grocery in Oakland, Calif. She began her work in social justice through the foster care system in Southern California, having been raised with seven older foster brothers. Through mentoring, tutoring and directing Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops, she developed her passion for youth leadership development among communities of color. She later shifted into sustainability, developing course curriculum for the University of California system and advocating across the state for environmental justice and political ecology. She has worked closely with Van Jones and Phaedra Ellis Lamkins at Green for All, fighting for a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. She was also a part of Slow Food USA in Brooklyn, N.Y., where President Josh Viertel came to regard her as an “extraordinary leader with a vision for how food and urban farming can be tools of empowerment.”

In 2009, Nikki co-founded Live Real, a national collaborative of food movement organizations committed to strengthening and expanding the youth food movement in the United States. In 2010, Nikki was featured in ELLE magazine as one of the five Gold Awardees. She has a master’s degree in African American Studies from UCLA, and is originally from Los Angeles. The People’s Grocery works to improve the health and local economy of West Oakland through investing in the local food system and support a network of like-minded change agents in cities across the nation. For the past 10 years, they have been increasing economic opportunity, building a healthier environment, and strengthening social capital to achieve these goals.

The keynote address will be followed by a series of panel discussions and workshops throughout Thursday and Friday. Workshops will focus on four topic areas: Health and Nutrition Education, Sourcing Food Locally, The Politics of Food and The Future of Detroit’s Food. Friday morning we will present our special report on city land sale processes, and have a group discussion about how to improve the process to benefit communities and the food system. Saturday morning will feature a presentation on the Detroit Future City Framework and a discussion on how this framework impacts our food system. Thursday’s program will also feature a youth track. Youth ages 13-18 attending the summit will participate in three sessions on health and nutrition, the food system and food justice. Those 18 and under who register for the Detroit Food 2013 will receive free registration. If you would like to register a group of youth for Detroit Food 2013 you can contact Kibibi Blount-Dorn at the Detroit Food Policy Council.

Saturday afternoon we invite everyone to experience the local food of Detroit at Celebrating! Detroit Food. This event will feature food demonstrations and tastings, food and garden games, the launch of Slow Food Detroit, a community action event with the Good Food Good Jobs Coalition, the monthly gathering of Uprooting Racism and Planting Justice, live music and more. Celebrating! Detroit Food is a free event

Detroit Food 2013

“What’s On Your Plate?”

April 4 and 5, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and

April 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Focus: HOPE Conference Center

1400 Oakman Blvd.

Detroit, MI 48238

The full schedule for Detroit Food 2013 is posted on our Web site, Registration is $20 per person for all three days and free for youth who register. A limited number of scholarships are available. To register or view the full schedule of events, visit or call 313.833.0396. For more information about Detroit Food 2013 or to request a registration form by mail, contact Kibibi Blount-Dorn at 313.833.0396 or

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