Are you a young person in middle or high school? Do you enjoy cooking? Would you like to learn about food justice and our Detroit food community? Do you want to learn to start your own good food business? Would you like groceries, ingredients, and kitchen equipment delivered right to your home?
Happy spring, friends! As we enter our favorite season, the Small Batch team has been gearing up for the excitement ahead and reflecting on the journey behind. And quite a journey it has been!
Since the program’s inception in 2015, 35 young Detroiters have trained in food production, entrepreneurship, and hospitality, earning $350,000 in meaningful wages. They have interned with local businesses, acquired Servsafe Certifications, and gone on to shine in culinary and nursing schools, universities, and food manufacturing and warehousing jobs. One alumni even recently started his own catering company, debuting at Trinosophes on Mother’s Day!
These talented young superstars have powered three delicious and growing product lines–Mitten Bites, Slow Jams, and the Detroit Pop Shop–generating over $450,000 in sales. But this is only the beginning…
Mitten Bites’ brand new look
You can now find new and improved Mitten Bites packaging in all of our retail locations! This move allows us to lower the price point, decrease the amount of added sugar per serving, and reduce our use of extra plastic and paper packaging (Triple Bottom Line!). You can find these beautiful new-look Bites at all local Whole Foods, Westborn, and Hollywood Markets, as well as a number of coffee shops, gift shops, and grocery stores across the state! Learn more…
Seeking bakers, makers, and chefs
We are entering our second summer producing and selling 13+ flavors o Slow Jams Jam. You can find 10-ounce jars in a number of local Whole Foods, Buschs’, and Plum Markets. We also have fantastic restaurant and bakery partners, who use our jams to make incredibly delicious value-added products for their customers. These partners include The Henry Ford, Avalon Bakery, Ethel’s Edibles, Detroit Marriott Hotel, Brooklyn St Local, Mudgies’, even a few restaurants in Indiana and Chicago, and many more.When you shop with these partners, you support not only amazing local businesses, but also the Detroit Food Academy, the meaningful wages and training we offer young Detroiters, and the Michigan farmers we source nearly all of our produce from in partnership with Michigan Farm to Freezer in Eastern Market. SO! If you or someone you know has a restaurant, bakery, deli, or catering company that could make a delicious value-added product using our jam, SPREAD the word! Learn more…
Pop Shop heating up
Our summer calendar is heating up with markets, festivals, weddings, and parties! At the Pop Shop, we use Michigan fruits, veggies, and herbs, along with lemon juice and cane sugar to make the perfect party favor. We’ll work with you to customize flavors and colors based on your preference and event theme. Spread the word, and stop by Eastern Market Saturdays and Wayne State Market Wednesdays between June and September to taste the icy pop goodness of summer. Learn more…
Until then, you can always find our students sampling and selling Slow Jams and Mitten Bites down at Eastern Market every Saturday! Have a wonderful spring and summer. Can’t wait to see you around!
Thanks to a partnership with Quicken Loans, we launched a new cohort that exposes 2000+ 6th grade students from Detroit Public Schools (in groups of 25-50 and over 36 days) to 45 minutes of high-impact, hands-on DFA programming! Quicken Loans’ Day of Innovation takes place over two eight-week periods–one in the Fall and one in the Spring. With a focus on nutrition and entrepreneurship, all participants created smoothies and branded their products in groups. Students learned basic nutrition facts about fruits and leafy greens while enjoying their delicious creations. Small groups then pitched their branded smoothies to the larger group. Some of the brand names they came up with for their smoothies included ‘Gucci Smoothie’, ‘Wild Berries’, and ‘Smoothie Ninjas”. This small introduction to Detroit Food Academy, nutrition, and the world of food entrepreneurship sparked passions and interest for many of the students! DFA will continue this program in 2019, so keep an eye out for more fun and innovative smoothies!
Andrea Daldin + Diamond Dantzler
After a whirlwind of a summer concluding with the Detroit Lions X Detroit Food Academy Cooking Competition, we have rolled out our programming at 15 cohorts this Fall. While our partnerships with long-standing partners continue to thrive, we have launched cohorts at new sites, such as the Boggs School (5th-8th grade), Fischer Upper Magnet Academy housed at the Ford Resource and Economic Center (FREC), and Hamtramck High School. We also launched an exciting new cohort in partnership with Quicken Loans’ Day of Innovation that exposes 2000+ 6th grade students from Detroit Public Schools (in groups of 25-50 and over 36 days) to 45 minutes of high-impact, hands-on DFA programming! Another exciting new cohort, launched in partnership with Racquet Up, starts this month. We’ll be working with 90 students between 5th and 12th grade and gearing the programming more toward nutrition and wellness. Stay tuned! In the meantime, please see our growing list of cohorts below:
- Cody High School
- Denby High School
- Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies
- Osborn High School
- Western International High School
- Voyageur College Prep High School
- Hamtramck High School
- Fischer Upper Magnet Academy housed at the Ford Resource and Economic Center (FREC)
- Advanced Leadership Cohort (pulls from all high schools)
- Small Batch Fellowship (pulls from all high schools)
- Quicken Loans’ Day of Innovation (2,000+ 6th graders)
- Focus: Hope (5th-8th Grade)
- Boggs School (5th-8th Grade)
- Racquet Up (5th-12th Grade)
- Brilliant Detroit in Southwest Detroit (young mothers)
- Ruth Ellis Center (young adults)
Hello and welcome to Fall from this year’s Advanced Leadership Cohort!
It’s a season full of loss and transformation as we witness the trees change and lose their colorful leaves, feeling the wind embrace us with its gentle touch provoking the warmth in our spirits to emerge. Fall is a time of change, loss, and reflection that invites everyone to rethink, rebuild, and prepare to come alive in advance of winter months.
The season is an appropriate comparison to the changes and growth taking place within our Advanced Leadership Cohort. Every year, we encourage our students to challenge themselves to the point of transformation. They fine tune their palates as they gear up to host their first professional pop-up nearing the end of the semester. We have an amazing group of youth dedicated to improving their many talents, reviving their communities, and having the difficult conversations that come with food justice work.
There will be hard times, triumph, accountability, and transformation, much like the trees, but the outcomes will be nothing short of unbe-leaf-able!
Advanced Leadership Program Coordinator
This summer was a beautiful breeze! My favorite lesson was when we grounded the summer crew in “What is Food Justice?” It is the first time as a program we really dug into the “what” and “why” of this topic that informs so much of what we do at Detroit Food Academy. It was incredible to see how much knowledge and passion our young people already have on this topic. There was space for the group to consider what actions they can take in their own lives – I’m really excited to expand upon this in the future and hopefully see a lot of great work being done!!
We hired eight new Small Batch Fellows for the 2018-2019 school year! We are proud to welcome China, Shawndrea, Eddie, Melissa, Jaylen, Mackenzie, Xavier and Alfonso into the Small Batch crew. In November and December the Fellows will be exploring the ideas of professionalism, marketing, branding, and planning for their next year with us. Look for them around town – working production at our kitchen facility at Peaches & Greens, demoing at local grocery stores and working the Saturday market at Eastern Market!
Small Batch Fellowship Coordinator
Four talented DFA chefs squared off in our second annual Detroit Lions X Detroit Food Academy “Chopped” style cooking competition at Eastern Market. Each DFA chef teamed up with a DFA mentor and Detroit Lions player to form competing trios. Emotions ran high, intensity was palpable, and the competition was neck-in-neck as students from Voyageur, Western, and Cody High Schools filled the bleachers and cheered on their classmates. After serving up five delicious courses, Tatianna, a Sophomore from Cody High school took home grand prize and a $1,500 scholarship to Baker College / Culinary Institute of Michigan. A big thank you to Ford, Detroit Lions, Baker College, Culinary Institute of Michigan, Office of School Nutrition, and Eastern Market for making this event possible!
After an action-packed summer selling gourmet ice pops at farmers markets, pop-ups, events, and parties, we are wrapping up our 2018 Popshop season. Our alumni are already in the process of experimenting with new exciting flavors for next season, and you can start planning ahead for your 2019 Spring/Summer/Fall events by booking The Detroit Popshop today!
As we enter November we will be taking orders for our Holiday Gift Boxes. This year we will be offering our Small Batch Big Change Gift Boxes featuring five delicious Mitten Bites and a jar of Slow Jams–all handcrafted by our talented young chefs. Click here to learn more!
Stay on the look-out for Mitten Bites in new packaging! Later this month we will be rolling out our new pre-printed bags. The new packaging will allow us to offer them at a lower price point and each Mitten Bite bar will now have 200-250 calories max. We look forward to growing the Mitten Bites brand and supplying more, competitive wage hours to our youth and alumni.
Small Batch Director
On October 18, we held our very first Meet & Greet Friend Raiser! It was the first of many to come and a beautiful way to launch our annual 100 New Friends Campaign. If you’re interested in becoming a Friend of DFA, click this link or the picture below to fill out our form, and we’ll get right back to you! If you would like to learn more first, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.