Wednesday, February 2, 2011
007: The Myth about Groceries in Detroit
Below I have reposted a piece written by Jim Griffioen (who writes the blog Sweet Juniper!) for another blog by Aaron M. Renn (Urbanophile). The article discusses where Detroiters find fresh produce and other foodstuffs in the city. As suburbanites, we often believe that "grocery store" means a chain store (in Michigan this means Meijer, Kroger, or Wal-Mart and increasingly Whole Foods and Trader Joe's) and we forget about the small and independently owned stores that still populate Detroit. National press has focused on the lack of these chain stores and has often confused the "lack of groceries" for the "inability of residents to afford their groceries" which is a much larger and more complicated problem. The heart of the argument as described by Griffioen is described below; the full article can be found here.
The myth of a city without supermarkets is hard to kill, even faced with [overwhelming evidence that Detroit has them]. Ultimately, the myth perseveres because the mainstream media and its audience are steeped in a suburban mentality where the only grocery stores that really seem to count are those large, big-box chain stores thatare the only option in so many communities these days, largely because they have put locally-owned and independent stores like the ones you find in Detroit out of business. It is true that the big chain stores have forsaken or ignored Detroit, for any number of understandable (and sometimes despicable) reasons. But in their absence, a diverse system of food options has risen to take their place, and the tired old narrative that Detroit has nowhere to shop for groceries needs to be replaced by a more complex truth: with a diversity of options ranging from the dismal to the sublime, Detroit may be one of the most interesting places in America to shop for food.
Both Sweet Juniper! and Urbanophile have been added to the blog list in the side bar.