Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (OAUF)
OAUF is a project of Northend Christian CDC, under the leadership of Jerry Hebron. C2BE is providing business resources to help OAUF with development of a worker co-op, a community supported agriculture (CSA) business and to manage an informal cooperative with other urban farmers to meet the expanding customer demand at OAUF’s weekly farmers’ markets — which are located at the farm and at six major auto plants in the Metro area and at its farm on Oakland Ave. C2BE is helping OAUF grapple with the logistics of marketing and collaborating with various producers and a growing customer base in a systematic way. C2BE is providing OAUF with legal and business forms for cooperation between the participating growers and between OAUF and the auto plant customers. Some of the participating growers include the Church of the Messiah Urban Farm (see below), Ohana Gardens and Love Earth Herbal Gardens.
Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (OAUF) stands as a testament to the creative and collaborative nature of the community in Detroit. From teaching community cooking classes, collaborating with artists and other growers, hiring youth and returning citizens, to hosting several farmer’s markets, OAUF is an authentic community based enterprise.
Church of the Messiah
C2BE and Messiah have a long history of working together, with the aim of serving adult and youth neighborhood residents who are involved in co-op and community-based business development projects at the church. Messiah, located on Detroit’s Eastside in Island View, holds numerous education and business development programs. Messiah’s Pastor Barry Randolph is a strong advocate of cooperatives who has a substantial background in retail food business. Collaborations between C2BE and Messiah include:
Nikki's Ginger Tea- Monique Sasser’s tea business, Nikki’s Ginger of Messiah’s kitchen for 18 years. C2BE connected Sasser’s business with Steve Mangigian of Zingerman’s Coffee, who helped Nikki’s shelf stabilize its product and greatly helped expand distribution. Nikki’s has since grown and moved to a larger work Messiah has since partnered with the SHARE Network to provide employability skills trainings two days every week at the church for neighborhood residents. The SHARE Network provided computers and office equipment to Messiah and has trained several of Messiah’s leaders as SHARE Network counselors to help community jobseekers effectively navigate theses online services to find employment and other services.
Church of Messiah Urban Farm- Messiah’s Urban Farm is a that has sprouted over the years into a fully-fledged CSA feeding forty families per season. In 2015, Messiah expanded its growing area to several additional lots and has since sold produce to Big Boy and other local food businesses. The year, C2BE connected the Urban Farm to the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm’s (see above) informal producer cooperative, of which Messiah is a participating grower.
Community United for Security LLC (CUFS)- CUFS is a property security developed in 2014 at Messiah by Joey Donaldson, Pastor Barry Randolph and other church leaders. CUFS plans to transition into a worker-owned company of security guards so that each employee is also an owner, and can benefit from having a stake in the business as well as higher hourly pay. CUFS and Messiah have cultivated strong relationships with building and property owners. CUFS focuses on employing workers who live in Detroit neighborhoods around CUFS’s client properties. Mr.Donaldson has many years experience as a security guard and manager, and C2BE is helping Mr. Donaldson develop CUFS’s business plan. Mr. Donaldson is the founder of FIRE Entertainment, an arts program that benefits the inner city youth in Detroit, which includes FIRE Drumline, the FLAMES dance team, and the FIRE Jazz Band.
Detroit Boots on the Ground is a social Jarret Schlaff of the New Work Field Street Collective. Detroit Boots sells high-quality, ecofriendly boots manufactured by veterans overcoming homelessness. Detroit Boots aims to not only pay living wages, but reimagine what it means to wage a living. C2BE is working with Detroit Boots on product development, manufacturing partnerships, and formation as a worker-owned cooperative enterprise.
Redeem Detroit is a community-based organization on Detroit's Eastside. Growing out of a vision for a better Detroit, Pastor Alonzo Bell is spearheading this effort to build community through creating mutli-generational learning and training center, and summer programming for youth that instill the values of cooperation, curiosity, and community. C2BE is working with Redeem Detroit to build support their efforts with comprehensive job training and workshop modules on worker- ownership as well as offer technical support.