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In Detroit, Hyper-Localization is More Than a Trend

June 2012

By Kendah El-Ali, Detroit

A sign stands tall on the side of a building at the end of Woodward Avenue, reading: “Outsource to Detroit.” Spearheaded by GalaxE. Solutions it’s a part of a campaign to position Detroit as a competitive IT hub. But the push for Detroit– a city both long and famously plagued by financial ruin– to bring its workforce back to its roots, hence saving money and giving its citizens long-awaited work, branches far beyond the edge of a keyboard.

The terms “localization” and “farm-to-table” are not news. But in Detroit, they are less of a trend, and more of means of efficient survival. By repositioning the city as an export, and also using the State of Michigan’s vast biodiversity as a way of keeping food goods close to home, Detroit is not only riding a trend to deliver itself from its own ashes- it very likely may be setting a future model for the rest of the country.

Local food brands such as Faygo, Tradewinds, Better Made and McClure’s (a brand partially based in the other hyper-local Mecca of Brooklyn, NY) are often the only drinks and snacks one can find stocked in artisanal and mainstream stores alike. A McDonald’s billboard along Interstate 75 advertises Michigan-grown eggs in their Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich.

And while the city proudly boasts the high quality of its own goods, they are also incredibly affordable. At $.99 for two bottles of all-natural, low-calorie iced tea, Tradewinds is indeed a bargain. Corktown deli Mudgie’s also serves as much Michigan-grown produce as it can within its doors. There, an unfathomably delicious, fresh, three-course meal for one (can of Faygo and a bag of Better Made Sweet BBQ chips included) stands at a short $18.

A thriving local arts and music scene also helps push Detroit beyond its borders. While stores like City Bird only carry crafts made within the city’s metro limits, other music brands, such as Made in Detroit, have long-been associated with Motor City’s techno scene all over the world, and at Detroit prices everyone can afford to enjoy.

Food & Drink

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