Detroit’s Eastern Market has been serving Detroit and Southeast Michigan since 1891. Today, Eastern Market's year round Saturday Market, and seasonal Tuesday market, connects as many as 40,000 weekly customers with 250 independent farmers and merchants. On weekdays during local harvest season, Eastern Market's Wholesale Market connects 50 regional growers with independent grocers from the Metro area.
While Eastern Market is an important source of fresh fruits and vegetables in the city of Detroit, many residents do not have dependable transportation to get to the market. With few full service grocery stores in the city, many families are forced to buy their food from convenience stores leading to unhealthy food choices and increased rates of diet related diseases and obesity.
As one of the few sources of fresh food in the community, Eastern Market is constantly striving to improve access for local residents to fresh fruits, vegetables and meats in addition to educating the community about the benefits of eating healthy, fresh food.
- The Eastern Market Farm Stand program operates pop-up farm stands at nearly 20 neighborhood sites throughout the region, making fresh fruits and vegetables from the market available at a wide variety of locations.
- Eastern Market led the development of Detroit Community Markets, a city-wide network of 14 community-based food sources including nine neighborhood farmers markets.
- As a member of the Green Ribbon Collaborative, Eastern Market is a strong supporter of the Fresh Food Share Program of Gleaners Community Food Bank which allows members of the program to order fresh fruits and vegetables to be delivered to community sites once a month.
- Eastern Market was a pioneer in the development of Double Up Food Bucks and remains the single largest site in the state of Michigan for this program that matches the amount spent by Bridge Card holders encouraging them to purchase Michigan grown crops.
- In partnerships with Detroit Public Schools, Greening of Detroit and the Detroit Lions, Eastern Market is helping the school district include more locally grown crops into its student meals and developing the Detroit School Garden Collaborative to build school gardens.
- Students from the Detroit Lions Academy and Detroit Public Schools visit the Tuesday Market in the fall to have lunch with Detroit Lions players while exploring the market and purchasing their own fruits and vegetables to take home.
- Eastern Market co-sponsors the Next Urban Chef competition and the Detroit Youth Food Brigade. Next Urban Chef teams students with area chefs in head-to-head competition. Detroit Youth Food Brigade creates entrepreneurial opportunities for students to sell fresh food to underserved areas to help improve food access in Detroit neighborhoods.