Labor Notes reports on efforts by the Detroit Community Grocery Store Coalition too build a community-run, unionized grocery store in the city.
Organizer Brad Wilson said the new store will be different from the chain stores that fled the city. It will hire from the neighborhood, get food from local farms, and establish a decision-making structure that allows local residents, employees, and investors to have a say in how it runs.
Members of the coalition are also looking to establish nutrition and gardening education programs and to find ways to transport Detroiters to the store. “If there’s a shuttle leaving downtown Detroit taking people out of the city to Ikea,” said an organizer at a recent coalition meeting, “then we should be able to shuttle people to get food, too.”
The coalition is investigating different organizational forms, such as worker cooperatives, that would allow for local control. Wilson said a shop run just by employees would fall short of the coalition’s vision to involve local residents and churches.