Frequently asked questions
What is the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network?
The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) is a grassroots, community-based, non-profit, membership organization that works to build food security, food justice and food sovereignty for Detroit’s African American residents.
What is the organization's history?
DBCFSN was founded in February 2006 at Black Star Community Bookstore in Detroit. The founding meeting was attended by about 40 people who were gardeners, chefs, healthy eating advocates, supporters of food co-ops, teachers and others who support Black community self-determination. In many ways DBCFSN grew out of earlier work at Nsoroma Institute Public School Academy, where several of the founding members had developed a school garden, a school-wide food security curriculum and the Shamba Organic Garden Collective, a group of about 20 people who maintained backyard and side lot gardens throughout Detroit.
The organization was founded to ensure that Detroit’s African American population participated in the food movement and because we are the vast majority of the population in Detroit, that we are in the leadership on that movement locally.
Since our founding, DBCFSN has contributed significantly to changing the local and national discourse on creating racial justice and equity in the food system.
What does DBCFSN do?
DBCFSN current core programs.
D-Town® Farm – D-Town® Farm is a seven acre organic farm in the City of Detroit’s Rouge Park. We grow more than 30 different fruits, vegetables and herbs that are sold at the farm on weekends, at the Wayne State University Farmers Market and to wholesale customers. The farm features three hoop houses for extended-season growing, bee-keeping, large-scale composting, and an annual harvest festival each September the weekend closest to the autumnal equinox.
Each summer we offer an urban agriculture internship program that trains a cohort of new farmers. We also expose the interns to the social justice lens that guides DBCFSN’s work and helps the interns develop job readiness and entrepreneurial skills. Agri-tourism is also an important part of what we do. Contact our office to arrange group tours of D-Town® Farm.
D-Town® Farm is located at 14027 W. Outer Drive between Plymouth and W. Chicago, Detroit, 48239.
Food Warriors Youth Development Program – The Food Warriors Youth Development Program engages young Detroiters between the ages of 5 -12 in experiences that teach them about food security and food justice and about the value of gardening, healthy eating and exercise. We currently operate Food Warriors Programs afterschool at Timbuktu Academy of Science and Technology on Detroit’s eastside and New Paradigm College Prep Academy in Southwest Detroit. We also operate a program open to all community youth at the Pan-African Orthodox Church’s National Training Center, in central city Detroit, on Saturdays.
“What’s for Dinner?” Lecture Series – Currently in it’s fourth year, the “What’s for Dinner?” Lecture Series features lectures in April, June, August and October that provide Detroiters with in-depth information on food system related issues. The lecture series takes place at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.
Since 2010, DBCFSN has been working to develop The Detroit People’s Food Co-op, a cooperatively owned grocery store complex to be located in Detroit’s North End. The project will include a full service grocery store, a healthy foods café, an incubator kitchen and community meeting space and offices.
We are working to launch the D-Town Brand Producers Co-op. This co-op will offer a line of value-added products that will be sold in local retail stores under the D-Town label.
Additionally, we were the lead organization in the writing of the City of Detroit’s Food Security Policy and the founding of the Detroit Food Policy Council. We also helped to found, and actively support Uprooting Racism Planting Justice, which holds monthly sessions and bi-annual trainings designed to develop a deeper analysis of how the system of white supremacy impacts the food system, and how we work to mitigate that impact.
We partner with local and national organizations to build a food movement that is focused on racial justice and equity. We serve as a Regional Outreach Training Center for Growing Power, a Milwaukee-based urban agricultural center led by Will Allen that is globally recognized as a major innovator in food system transformation.
How is DBCFSN funded?
From 2006 – 2010, DBCFSN was funded exclusively through dues and the contributions of our members and supporters. Since 2010, we have received significant funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and from various USDA grants. We have also received funding from WHY Hunger, The Annenberg Foundation, The ERB Family Foundation, Hands Across America, HUFED/Wallace Center, the Fair Food Network, the Institute for Agriculture Trade Policy, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, City Connect, the Conservation Fund, Whole Foods Market, Michigan State University, Eastern Market Corporation, Great Lakes Detroit Bioneers, Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative and Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.
DBCFSN is a membership organization. We have three levels of membership: Individual Members pay $10 annual dues. Family Memberships pay $25 and Organizational Memberships cost $120 annually. Those membership fees go to support the work of DBCFSN. Members are eligible to participate in selected program and to receive discounts on D-Town Farm produce.
We hold monthly general membership meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at our office at 11000 W McNichols, Suite 103, Detroit, MI 48221. These meetings often feature a guest presenter, video or other special presentation and are open to the general public.
Volunteering and Community Service Opportunities
Volunteers are always appreciated at D-Town Farm. Volunteers of all ages are welcome, but children must be accompanied and monitored by a responsible adult. D-Town Farm serves as a site for court mandated and school related community service. Call our office to sign-up.
Volunteer days are Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. – noon and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – noon, beginning the third week in March and continuing until the third week in November. Weekday group volunteer opportunities can be arranged by contacting our office at 313.345.3663. Call our office to inquire about how volunteers can receive D-Town Dollars for the time you volunteer at the farm.
Additionally, volunteers are needed for community engagement and door-to-door literature distribution in the neighborhoods near D-Town Farm, the DBCFSN office and the area where the Detroit People’s Food Co-op will be located.
There are periodic opportunities for volunteers with office skills.
How can I get a representative from DBCFSN to speak at an event or conference?
Please contact our office at 313.345.3663 to have a speaker request form sent to you. There is no charge for DBCFSN speaking at local grassroots community events. Fees for speaking at state, regional or national conferences vary depending on the speaker and the specifics of the event.
Does DBCFSN do interviews with the media?
DBCFSN representatives are potentially available to speak with local and national media on urban farming, food co-ops, youth programming, racial justice in the food system, food sovereignty, development in Detroit and a wide variety of related topics. Please contact our office at 313.345.3663 to have a media request form sent to you.
DBCFSN Media Request form:
Does DBCFSN participate in academic research?
DBCFSN is often approached by researchers examining topics like race, urban development and various aspects of the food system. We are selective about which researchers we talk with due to the amount of time that it takes us away from our primary work and because in some cases research can be extractive without any clear community benefit. Please call our office at 313.345.3663 to have a research request form sent to you. We will review the completed form and let you know whether or not we choose to participate.
DBCFSN Research Request form:
How can I donate to DBCFSN?
DBCFSN always accepts donations. Donations can be made on-line via our website. Checks can be mailed to DBCFSN, 11000 W McNichols Rd., Suite 103, Detroit, MI 48221. Donations of any amount are appreciated. We encourage supporters to give generously to our annual year-end fund drive between October and December and/or our mid-year fund drive in July. All donations are tax-deductible..
Is DBCFSN on social media?
In addition to our website, DBCFSN maintains a presence on the web via our social media sites. We are on Facebook at Detroit Black Community Food Security Network on Twitter at DetroitBlckCFSN.
Our blog is DTOWNFARM.Blogspot.com