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An Economic Analysis of Detroit’s Food System

Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) teamed up with Urbane Development, LLC (New York, NY), and the Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative (DFFC) to conduct and release an economic analysis of the City of Detroit’s food system.

Through various research tactics, the study sought to assess the current state of Detroit’s food economy, highlight the opportunities and challenges shareholders face with the city’s food sector and develop a strategic approach to cultivating a reliable and economically sound food system for all Detroit residents.

The report arrived at a critical time for the future of Detroit’s food system. With a new mayor in office, burgeoning interest in the revitalization of the city and an increased national and regional focus on the importance of local food, it was timely for Detroit to discuss the role of efficient and equitable food systems in its economy.

With input from ESI senior advisors Gregory Heller (Baltimore, MD) and Catherine Timko (Washington, D.C.), the economic analysis determined the following:

• The Detroit food system produces $3.6 billion in revenue and directly employs over 36,000 people earning close to $1 billion in salaries and wages per year in the city of Detroit.
• Including Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties, the food system in the Detroit Metro area is responsible for $45.8 billion in economic impact, supporting 59,000 jobs and about 1.9 billion in wages and earnings per year.
• The Detroit food system pays less, provides fewer jobs and garners less revenue than comparable regional food systems throughout the country.
• With a 30 percent localization shift, the food system would become the second-largest industry in Detroit’s economy, represents $5.4 billion in annual revenues, directly employs over 52,000 people and represent $1.3 billion in annual wages and salaries.

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