C2BE and Church of the Messiah have a long history of working together, with the aim of serving adult and youth neighborhood residents who are involved in cooperative and community-based business development projects at the church. Located in Islandview on Detroit’s Eastside, Church of the Messiah holds numerous education and business development programs. Pastor Barry Randolph, who has a substantial background in retail food business, is a strong advocate of cooperatives. Collaborations between C2BE and Church of the Messiah include:
Nikki’s Ginger Tea
Monique Sasser’s tea business, Nikki’s Ginger, started in Messiah’s kitchen more than 18 years ago. C2BE connected Sasser’s business with Steve Mangigian of Zingerman’s Coffee, who helped Nikki’s Ginger shelf stabilize its product and greatly helped expand distribution. 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 job seekers effectively navigate theses online services to find employment and other services.
Church of Messiah Urban Farm
Messiah’s Urban Farm has turned into a fully-fledged CSA feeding forty families per season. In 2015, Messiah expanded its growing area to include several additional lots and has since sold produce to Big Boy and other local food businesses. C2BE also connected Messiah’s Urban Farm to the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm’s informal producer cooperative, of which Messiah is now a participating grower.
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