Michigan Fields is a new grocery-delivery service working to promote locally grown and farmed grocery goods, while also helping to provide easy access to food amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As there is a concern for supply lines and access to food amid the pandemic, Michigan Fields is here to show that in terms of fruits, vegetables and proteins, Michigan has an abundance of locally produced goods to feed its people.
The product of Skidmore Studio, a Detroit-based design firm, a grocery delivery system may sound a bit out of the ordinary. But, the idea was long in the making, and like most aspects of everyday life from the before times, COVID just happened to shake things up a bit.
With Skidmore already working alongside food suppliers on packaging and branding projects, the collaborative relationships already existed to spawn Michigan Fields.
Speaking on how Michigan Fields came to be, CEO of Skidmore Studio, Drew Patrick, shared, “We have a ton of expertise and skill in branding for food and food direct to consumers. That was what we had thought would be the best path, and then when the pandemic happened, grocery delivery just seemed like an obvious adaptation of that plan we put together. There was such a need in the market for this, and a lot of our clients could become our suppliers.”
The businesses working within Michigan Fields vary in terms of where they’re located in Michigan, ranging from Zingerman’s near Ann Arbor to Detroit’s own Michigan Farm to Freezer. Working with suppliers from across the state, Michigan Fields shows that Michigan has one of the most diverse food production systems in the country.
By making it easier to access locally produced products, Michiganders can eat healthier while supporting the local economy.
HOW MICHIGAN FIELDS WORKS
So, while getting your groceries delivered is no new idea, unlike already existing mediums, Michigan Fields differs somewhat. Instead of grabbing groceries from your local Kroger or Meijer, products are sourced directly from the suppliers themselves.
“Michigan fields is an online grocery store and you shop online just like you would through Instacart or the other services, but we are the retail store. So we’re not going to Meijer or Kroger to buy your groceries to deliver them to you, we are our own retailer,” stated Patrick, when discussing the process. “So we’re warehousing our own product from our suppliers in a facility in Eastern Market, which is a USDA certified processing facility.”
After ordering, Patrick added that it would take a day or two to get the products together, and once ready, refrigerated trucks will transport the groceries directly to customers. Importantly, he also touched on the safety protocols they are following amid the ongoing health crisis. While PPE is standard in the facility, once groceries are ready, they will be delivered to a customer’s doorstep with no in-person contact made.
Patrick noted that when ordering, customers will get a text notification when groceries are on the way, and another when they have been deposited at their front door. The process makes for as little contact as possible, allowing for safety while supporting buying local, something that might not be an option when using other delivery services.
Being more than just a grocery-delivery service, Michigan Fields also aims to promote the diversity of Metro Detroit when it comes to what kind of foods one can find locally sourced.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION
Adding to the health benefits that come with eating fresher foods, it also means building more awareness in and around Detroit to the food resources that already exist.
“Food quality deteriorates over time. So, first and foremost, you get a higher nutrient content food. When you eat it closer to the date, it was picked groaner, or made. It is his healthier product when you’re eating local. Most people don’t understand if they see greens on the grocery store shelves. They will likely pick seven days ago, even if you get it right when it’s put on the shelf,” shared Patrick, when discussing locally produced goods compared to produce from larger grocers.
“A lot of people don’t realize that there’s protein there’s produce, there are grains, Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the country, next to California. We could all eat very well by eating only Michigan grown and made products, and we’re trying to encourage that,” he added.
While still in its infancy, Michigan Fields plans to expand it’s reach and products while continuing to promote Michigan-based growers and producers.. Patrick also noted that one future idea could include ways to incorporate food assistance programs into Michigan Fields, a process that could further help fill the critical gaps of food scarcity that exist in the city of Detroit.
For now, the grocery provider is focusing on the crisis at hand and ensuring that people have access to quality healthy foods. They are also continuing to promoting the idea that you can source food locally, especially in Detroit, a city filled with urban farms, wholesale producers, and a community ready to utilize them.
Sharing this potential, Patrick stated, “You could get greens that were grown in the city of Detroit, a lot of people don’t know that, you can get greens that are grown on the west side of Michigan, you can get, chicken, beef and pork, that were raised free-range and hormone-free from the state of Michigan. There’s a really great agricultural establishment in our state, and Michigan fields can do a lot just to bring that awareness to everyone.”