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Eastern Market to build community kitchen

Thanks to Birmingham's Erb Foundation, Eastern Market will build a $200,000 community kitchen sometime in 2011, furthering one of the foundation's key missions: promoting environmental health and justice.

Plans for the grant, payable over two years, will allow Eastern Market to develop the community kitchen as an hub for food entrepreneurs, in a city where access to commercial kitchen space can be difficult to find. They also hope to increase access to locally grown and processed healthy foods.

"It's going to serve as an incubator for people, especially Detroiters, who want to start their own niche food processing business. It's a good way to not only support the local food system, but to create jobs," says the Erb Foundation's Jodee Fishman Raines.

It's also a way to make better use of produce and other perishables that can go to waste -- fruit that can't be sold can still be pickled or jarred, for example. There will be food demonstrations and workshops encouraging healthy eating, plus the community kitchen can be rented out by groups.

The Erb Foundation, which has distributed money over the past three years, focuses primarily on promoting environmental health and cultural wellness to help revitalize the Great Lakes region, with a focus on Metro Detroit.

"Eastern Market is really, we think, an important institution in the city, an important part of building this local food system ... the better and stronger it is, the better off we think it will help revitalize the city. When you've got these wonderful local institutions, you can make them even more accessible to people. Eastern Market is already very user-friendly, but this takes it to a whole new level," says Fishman Raines.

Source: Jodee Fishman Raines, Vice President of Programs, Erb Foundation
Writer: Ashley C. Woods
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