Detroit’s Hunger Problem

12 08 2009

J found this article on CNN.com.  It’s an interesting look at the food supply chain in Detroit and it’s really sad.  The picture of the armed guard protecting a delivery man is really scary.  I wouldn’t think this scene would happen anywhere in America. 

In this recession-racked town, the lack of food is a serious problem. It’s a theme that comes up again and again in conversations in Detroit. There isn’t a single major chain supermarket in the city, forcing residents to buy food from corner stores. Often less healthy and more expensive food.

As the area’s economy worsens –unemployment was over 16% in July — food stamp applications and pantry visits have surged.

Wow!  No major supermarkets?!  Again, not something I would expect anywhere in America.  Chicago has had to forcibly keep Walmart out of the city.  You would think Walmart would thrive in depressed urban setting like Detroit.  People are always amazed that there was no supermarket in the town I grew up in, but there’s only 750 people there.  Driving a half hour to the supermarket wasn’t that big of deal.  Getting in the car and driving out to the ‘burbs isn’t really an option for most people  in the city.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though as the article points out.

Detroiters have responded to this crisis. Huge amounts of vacant land has led to a resurgence in urban farming. Volunteers at local food pantries have also increased.

[snip]

Detroiters are also helping themselves in smaller ways. Thanks to the dearth of big supermarkets in Detroit proper – a phenomenon largely attributed to lack of people – and plenty of vacant land, community gardening has caught on big.

It’s not so much that these gardens are going to feed the city, although they certainly help. It’s more that they can be used to teach people, especially children, the value of eating right.

“I use vegetables every day,” said one child at an after school gardening program run by Earthworks Urban Farm, near the heart of the city. “Last night, an onion I picked from here, I had in my potatoes.”

Very cool.





Press Release – “Mix It Up For MDA” at Carrabbas

29 07 2009

From a Muscular Dystrophy Association press release…

CARRABBAS ITALIAN GRILL, AWARD WINNING MIXOLOGIST TO “MIX IT UP FOR MDA”

WHO: Carrabba’s Italian Grill invites consumers to “Mix It Up for MDA” at a special event combining exclusive cocktails from award-winning mixologist Charlotte Voisey with new Carrabba’s food items to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

WHAT: A special mixer and food tasting event that includes a delicious array of appetizers from the new Mr. C’s Menu, designed for snacking and sharing, including: Antipasti Misto, Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese, Patatinas with Blue Cheese, and Chicken Parmesan Piccolinos.

Admission to “Mix It Up for MDA” is $15 per person. The ticket price includes a sampling of four food items from the new Mr. C’s Bar Menu and, for guests 21 years and older, one of Voisey’s signature cocktails created for the event (Blackberry Lemonade, the Italian Lemon Drop or Blackberry Fields Martini) or another drink on the Mr. C’s list.

In addition to monies raised from “Mix It Up for MDA” event admission, Carrabba’s also will donate $1 to MDA for each of Voisey’s drinks sold from July 30 – August 6.

WHEN: July 30, 2009

5 p.m. to close

WHERE: Carrabba’s Italian Grill

6540 West Saginaw Hwy.

Lansing, MI 48917

WHY: Funds raised will directly affect the lives of children and adults in the Lansing area living with one of more than 40 muscle-wasting diseases in MDA’s program. “Mix it up for MDA” will support research, clinics and programs in the area. Contributions will help MDA provide outpatient clinic services, purchase and repair wheelchairs, leg braces and communication devices, and perform many other important services.





Take on the 3-Foot Coney

28 07 2009

There must be something in the water in West Michigan.  First it was the Fifth Third Burger.  Now, it’s a monster 3-Foot Coney from The Galley in Wyoming.

The Jolly Roger is a three-foot long hot dog that comes with Coney sauce, onions, mustard and pickles. The German-style wiener is made by a local meat market and the bun crafted by a Grand Rapids bakery.

Owner, Rick Baumgardner hopes it will put his restaurant, The Galley on the map. “We’ve been thinking about something for the past couple of years and we just didn’t know what– but we knew we needed a signature item, and a few months ago we decided we needed something big and unusual and recently we decided it was going to be a Coney dog.”

From a marketing standpoint, I love these ideas.  I would never take one of these challenges, but anything that gets people talking about your place is a good thing….a website would help too..especially with all the media attention that you’re hoping to get from this gimmick.





Press Releae – 32nd Annual Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition

28 07 2009

From a Kellogg Center Press Release…..

KELLOGG HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER HOSTS 32ND ANNUAL MICHIGAN WINE AND
SPIRITS COMPETITION
Public Invited to “Taste the Winners” at August 6 Reception

East Lansing, Mich. – The Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center will host
the 32nd Annual Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition and a public Gold
Medal Reception unveiling Michigan’s top wines on Thursday, August 6.

This year marks Kellogg’s ninth year hosting the competition, which
will bring together several wine experts to judge their way through 350
Michigan wine entries. The public is invited to the Gold Medal Reception
on August 6, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., to taste the winning wines paired
with foods prepared by Kellogg Center chefs. Selected Best of Class
wines will also be featured at Kellogg’s State Room Restaurant.

“It’s a pleasure to once again host the competition and serve the
best of Michigan wines,” said Geoff Parkerson, general manager for the
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. “Between the great wines and our
award-winning chefs’ creations, attendees are in for a treat.”

The Gold Medal Reception is expected to bring out an audience of 350
supportive consumers, industry members and industry associates. Winning
winemakers and owners will be on hand to discuss their wines and share a
glass with attendees. Special guest authors, Lorri Hathaway and Sharon
Kegerreis will also be signing copies of their book, “From the Vine:
Exploring Michigan Wineries” at the event.

Tickets for the Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition Gold Medal
Reception are $40 and are available through the Kellogg Center at
517-432-4000.





“No Reservations” in Detroit tonight!

27 07 2009

I’ve never really gotten in to this show, but “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel will feature four Detroit area restaurants tonight.

Bourdain’s stops here included Polonia and the Family Donut Shop in Hamtramck, Al-Ameer in Dearborn and Detroit’s Cadieux Cafe.

The show airs on Travel Channel (Comcast Digital Channel 159 in Lansing) at 10:00 PM tonight.





Ann Arbor Chef to be on Top Chef: Las Vegas

8 07 2009

I saw this story in the Detroit Free Press.

Chef Eve Aronoff — chef-owner of eve restaurant in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown district — will compete this fall on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Las Vegas,” the sixth season of the top-rated cable series, the network announced today.

[snip]

Contestants are not allowed to discuss how they fared in the series, which has already been taped.

The season will begin at 9 p.m. Aug. 26, with 17 professional chefs from all over the country. Aronoff is the only current Michigan chef to win a spot on the show.





Press Release – Buy Michigan Now Week

8 07 2009

From a Buy Michigan Now press release….

GOVERNOR PROCLAIMS BUY MICHIGAN WEEK FOR JULY 27, 2009
Buy Michigan Now Campaign Initiates Statewide Celebrations

Livonia, MI (July 9, 2008) – Buy Michigan Now (www.BuyMichiganNow.com), a campaign designed to promote and restore Michigan’s economy, requested and received an official proclamation from Governor Jennifer M. Granholm pronouncing the week of July 27th as Buy Michigan Week across the state. The campaign is now urging businesses, residents, and media throughout the state to celebrate by showcasing and supporting Michigan-based companies and Michigan-made products during that week.

According to Buy Michigan Now campaign founder, Lisa Diggs, “While we would like to see every week be Buy Michigan Week, we felt our current economic situation warranted a special spotlight on what is going well in this great state. We have amazing agriculture, terrific beers and wines, numerous independently-owned retailers and restaurants that all deserve some special attention.” Diggs continued, “Michigan is still manufacturing more products than people realize, while simultaneously carving out a leading role in the film, medical, and renewable energy industries. Our citizens need to hear about, celebrate, and support these positive developments.”

To help businesses capitalize on the opportunity, Buy Michigan Now has created flyers, posters, and shelf tags that may be downloaded for free by local communities and businesses to help them highlight Buy Michigan Week. “We recognize that not every business has the budget to create special signage for an event like this,” said Diggs, “so we are offering several designs at no cost to make it more affordable for companies to participate.”

In addition, Buy Michigan Now and Downtown Northville are hosting a festival that runs from Monday, July 27th – Sunday. August 2nd. The event will include several seminars, panel discussions, and entertainment, in addition to active participation by local merchants and numerous vendors/exhibitors that will be on hand from around the state.





Press Release – Girl Scouts and DQ

8 07 2009

From a Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan press release….

Girl Scouts Learn Business Skills at Okemos Dairy Queen

(Lansing –) Girl Scouts in the Heart of Michigan are learning how to run a successful business with the help of their local Dairy Queen owner during the second annual DQ Girl Scout Appreciation Week from July 20 – 26. Girl Scout Appreciation Week is part of a two-month promotion with Dairy Queen that includes the introduction of the new Girl Scouts Tagalong Peanut Butter Patties Blizzard Treat as the July Blizzard of the Month and the return of the Girl Scouts Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard in August.

Locally, the Dairy Queen store at Meridian Mall, 982 W. Grand River in Okemos, will host Girl Scouts on July 22 from 11 am – 3 pm and 5 pm – 8 pm. During that time, girls will have the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial and leadership skills with a behind-the-scenes tour of the DQ store. Girls will receive tips on running a successful business, see how products are developed, and increase their financial literacy by learning how a restaurant makes a profit. The free event is open to current Girl Scouts and to girls and adults interested in joining or volunteering with Girls Scouts. For more information on this event, contact Elizabeth Duran at 517-699-9400 or email eduran@gshom.org.

DQ Girl Scout Appreciation Week reflects the Girl Scouts’ strategy to develop alliances that show girls how their hometown businesses work. “Girl Scout Appreciation Week is a great way to expose girls to savvy business leaders in their own communities,” said Jan Barker, CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan. “Our girls are seeing firsthand how community involvement can help them shape their futures.”

Community events such as these help raise awareness for local Girl Scout troops. Troop membership is on the rise and volunteers are needed to lead troops or share their talents through programs for girls. Girls and adults interested in joining Girls Scouts can learn more at http://www.gshom.org or by calling Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Lansing Regional Center at 517-699-9400 to speak directly with a membership or adult recruitment specialist.





Another Reason Not To Use Propane

3 07 2009

I saw this on Twitter from @aribadler.  It’s a story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about propane tanks that show they are full, but really aren’t.  As I’ve made clear before, I think grilling with propane is cheating…and it’s just lazy.  Why even grill out?  Still, I know it’s more popular than using wood, so I thought this would be of interest to those of you that choose the gas.

Last summer two of the nation’s leading sellers of pre-filled grill tanks —- Blue Rhino and AmeriGas —- reduced the amount of propane in their tanks from 17 pounds to just 15 pounds. Company officials said the change allowed their tanks’ retail price to remain the same at a time when propane prices had spiked. Although propane prices have dropped significantly, the companies haven’t increased the amount of propane in their tanks.

[snip]

Because Blue Rhino and AmeriGas have changed tank labels to say “15 lbs” they’re complying with weights and measures laws, regulators at the Georgia Department of Agriculture said. But some consumers —- who assumed that the uniformly sized metal tanks would be filled to legal capacity —- are crying foul at what they consider sneaky shortchanging.

Like most other things in life, your better off buying local. 





Press Release – Kid Rock Beer Starting Production

3 07 2009

Someone will have to help me on this one.  I was under the impression the Michigan Brewing Company was working on a Kid Rock craft beer.  I’m assuming that is shelved now?  This  is from a Drinks America press release….

Kid Rock and Drinks Americas Announce “AMERICAN BADASS BEER COMPANY™” to be Born on the Fourth of July
AMERICAN BADASS BEER™ will be Launched at Kid Rock’s July 17-18th Weekend Shows at Comerica Park

WILTON, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd. (OTC BB: DKAM) (“Drinks Americas” or the “Company”) announced today that on July 4th it will commence brewing and filling kegs for the launch of Kid Rock’s “AMERICAN BADASS BEER COMPANY™”. Kid Rock plans to launch kegs of his new American style lager at Detroit’s Comerica Park in time for concert dates July 17th and 18th. AMERICAN BADASS BEER™ will be available at kiosks within the park during the concerts and rolling out in Michigan in the coming weeks followed by a number of Midwest market openings.

J. Patrick Kenny, CEO of Drinks Americas, said, “We are very excited about the launch date, the beer and all the work that has been put into making Kid Rock’s AMERICAN BADASS BEER™ a success. Based on orders alone we are off to a very good start. We will let the beer speak for itself as people begin to taste this great product.”