Detroit Economic Growth Corporation relaunches Green Grocer Project to increase fresh food access for Detroiters

  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation relaunches Green Grocer Project offering $25K grants and technical assistance to local businesses and entrepreneurs
  • The program aims to provide residents with walkable access to grocery stores and fresh food in their communities
  • Soon, the program will also offer loan financing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Funds
  • Applications are now open


The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is relaunching the Green Grocer Project (GGP) to increase walkable access to fresh and healthy food options across Detroit neighborhoods. After a brief hiatus, the program has received renewed funding from the City of Detroit to assist local entrepreneurs and businesses in opening and sustaining small-format grocery stores in communities throughout the city.

This comes at a pivotal time, as predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods may have fewer full-service supermarkets than predominantly White and non-Hispanic neighborhoods, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

“With the Green Grocer Project, we're showing our commitment at the DEGC to growing Detroit's economy equitably,” said DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson. “When we assist local entrepreneurs in opening grocery stores right in the neighborhoods they know best, it empowers residents to meet essential needs while creating new jobs. This is one way to drive opportunity that uplifts our whole community.”

The revitalized program will provide grants of up to $25,000 and technical assistance in market research, store design, supplier relationships and digital literacy training. Businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to open new grocery stores from the ground up or expand food offerings at existing retail locations are encouraged to apply.  Later this year, the program will offer loan financing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant. To be eligible for assistance, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Registered for-profit business with a Detroit address in good standing with the State of Michigan and City of Detroit
  • Small format specialty stores (1,500 – 5,000 sq. ft.) that increase groceries and fresh foods to over 15% of selling space
  • Mixed market community stores (3,000 – 15,000 sq. ft.) that increase fresh produce, meat, dairy, specialty, organic or other alternatively sourced product
  • New Construction (over 10,000 sq. ft) with fresh produce, meat and dairy
  • Alternative format stores with a preponderance of fresh food

Over two years, the Green Grocer Project aims to assist at least eight small grocery stores in neighborhoods throughout Detroit.

“With food insecurity at 69% in Detroit, and with Detroit having previously been considered a food desert; grocery stores are absolutely vital!” said Detroit City Councilman At-Large Coleman A. Young II. “The DEGC Green Grocer Project is the most effective program in moving toward achieving food security and Detroit becoming a food oasis neighborhood by neighborhood, community by community, and block by block until we have achieved food security for all Detroiters.” 

Applications for the next round of cash and technical assistance grants are now open, with awards disbursed on a rolling basis. To learn more or apply for assistance, visit or

Originally running from 2010-2017, the Green Grocer Project increased access to fresh, healthy foods while strengthening Detroit's grocery sector. The program supported independent grocers through grants, loans, technical assistance and tax incentives, and attracted regional and national chains to set up shop in the city. These investments have created and retained local jobs, with improved stores serving as community hubs that provide greater availability of nutritious options.

Upon completion of the first phase of the Green Grocer Project in 2017, Detroit’s grocery sector was positively impacted with investment in excess of $50 Million for GGP-assisted stores’ new construction, expansions, and renovations. Over $1 million was in façade improvement grants and technical assistance grants for more than 35 Detroit grocery stores. Fourteen Green Grocer stores created 115 new jobs.

About Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC):

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is a non-profit organization that serves as Detroit’s lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development. DEGC is led by a board comprised of business, civic and community leaders. Its staff provides services for key public authorities that facilitate incentives and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs and investment to the City. DEGC also manages important initiatives to support small businesses and grow neighborhood commercial corridors. DEGC is dedicated to inclusive development and access to economic opportunity.