Our Person of the Week Provides Food for Thought
Every day during the growing season you can find Kami Pothukuchi at the Wayne State University farmers’ market. She is an associate professor in urban planning and some of her most important lessons are taught outside the classroom.
Pothukuchi says “We have all these grounds that are manicured very well and so why not use these grounds that we have as a classroom for growing vegetables.
Pothukuchi led the effort to get a Ford grant to establish a comprehensive program called Seed Wayne, which has activities on campus and in the community.
The farmers market is one example. It’s a 21 week market with about 12 to 15 vendors selling locally grown produce.
Then there is the Warrior Garden and the St. Andrews Allotment garden where scored of students grow produce. Some of the veggies are used in university kitchens and compost from those kitchens is used in the gardens.
Pothukuchi has also overseen an experimental garden on the roof of a university parking structure that uses solar power as part of a unique irrigation process.
In addition, she told us, “We offer a program called Detroit Fresh where we work with corner stores , convenience stores, liquor stores, gas stations in Detroit neighborhoods that are underserved by grocery stores to help them carry fresh fruits and vegetables.”
There are 18 stores that receive technical assistance from Seed Wayne and a distributor is found to provide the store with free or low cost produce.
“We want to make sure that we increase the capacity at different levels, capacity of individuals to grow their own food, to find healthy food to prepare food in healthy ways and so on.”
That’s Kami Pothukuchi’s mission and that’s why we name her our Detroit 2020 person of the week.
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