EDA University Center for
Regional Economic Innovation

Economic, Community Development Initiative in Flint

Posted Thursday, March 31, 2016

In 2015, REI launched a new effort aimed at improving Michigan's economy: A Co-Implementation Plan in Flint. The pioneering project, a collaboration with 15 community partners, is grounded in a research-driven plan that takes into account the framework of building neighborhood wealth, as proposed by The Democracy Collaborative.

Building on the model of a locally owned cooperative, the program will create work opportunities through a grocery store, and will support the Flint community, rather than extract profits from it. It will also aid in the development of family assets and social networks, and improve the overall social fabric of neighborhoods.

On February 8th, 2016, a public forum meeting was held at Eagle's Nest Academy in Flint to gauge the interest of the public and discuss the possibility of a North Flint Food & Aquaponics Co-Op. The goal of the Co-Op would be to bridge the gap in affordable and healthy food options in the city of Flint, as well as create sustainable local jobs through an educational training program for youth in the area.

Nearly 100 north Flint residents attended the meeting and responded positively to the idea of the Co-Op. The Flint Aquaponics team has been seeking funding in order to begin the process of creating the Co-Op, which will involve the acquisition and renovation of a suitable property, the location of which will be determined through a market study funded by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. On March 6th, the North Flint Reinvestment Corporation began fundraising efforts in the community, with a goal of $250,000 in start-up capital. For more information, visit the North Flint Reinvestment Corporation's website.