Wholesale Market Coordinator, Eastern Market Corporation, Detroit, MI
March 4, 2013
What is your role at Eastern Market Corporation (EMC)?
CQ: I am primarily responsible for working with various agencies and partners to identify policy and procedural changes needed to facilitate increased procurement of Michigan-grown foods by schools, restaurants, hospitals and other institutions. I am also a managing partner of the Detroit Ag & Food Business Network. In addition, I lead EMC in creating food safety policy and procedures and coordinate food safety training for market vendors and food businesses.
How does Eastern Market work towards the goals of the Good Food Charter?
CQ: Since I am mission focused on increasing both the demand and supply of Michigan produce, just about everything thing I do incorporates a goal of the Charter. I am currently working with many institutions, restaurants, specialty food producers, and local processors to make the connections and logistics possible to increase their local procurement. Also, when we select specialty food producers for our Saturday and Tuesday Markets, we give priority to producers who have committed to local produce and foster vendor-to-vendor collaboration and sourcing.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
CQ: The movement of food is complex. Buyers and sellers have many barriers to overcome in order to connect. Moving those barriers at times is a Herculean effort, but whenever I can bring new business to growers or engage them in a new market they previously thought inaccessible, I am energized.
What opportunities do you see for moving towards the goals of the Charter?
CQ: I see opportunities from a statewide policy level incenting organizations to support Michigan agriculture. As we start to move local food more efficiently, for a higher profit to producers, I can see more entrepreneurs and more growers entering the marketplace to meet the ever increasing demand.
What is one thing you’ve learned that you’d like to share with others?
CQ: There is no one perfect way to connect growers and buyers. Every situation is different and requires an open mind and a collaborative, trusting spirit. Success happens when all partners come to the table ready to think beyond what is in order to envision what can be.