Southfield (CW50) – Youth in underserved communities are rarely afforded the opportunity to build a future that is focused on their health and skills they’ll need to affect change on their community. However, there are programs, like Detroit Food Academy, that help these kids grow their culinary and leadership skills while building an education focused on wellness and food justice that can support them and their community’s future.

Detroit Food Academy was started in 2012 as a nonprofit to inspire young Detroiters (ages 10-24) through culinary arts and food entrepreneurship. The program creates opportunities for kids to cook meals for their friends and family, all while learning the inside of Detroit’s food economy to give them an opportunity to obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to grow their own food business.

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The program has shifted to an entirely virtual platform, delivering the food and kitchen supplies necessary for the program to the doorsteps of each student. The students get to learn and grow within their own kitchen and are afforded the opportunity after the program to work inside Small Batch, Detroit Food Academy’s food product business-end of the organization.

In the program open to middle schoolers, they are guided through the process of building their own triple-bottom-line food business.  Students’ business projects are created for a mission, whether it is to increase access to healthy food, to source more ingredients from local farmers, or to teach other young people how to cook for themselves.

The program designed for upper level students offers an accelerated experience to scale their own unique food-rooted business project and master 20 culinary arts skills. Professional chefs and food business owners work directly with students. At monthly “skill-shops,” students learn foundational life and job skills such as financial literacy, professionalism, and leadership.

Small Batch Detroit is the social enterprise section of the Detroit Food Academy. Their online gift shop features products such as Mitten Bites, Slow Jams, and the Detroit Pop Shop, all handcrafted by their talented young chefs who have worked through the initial programs at the academy.

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Small Batch Detroit Holiday Gift Boxes (Courtesy of Detroit Food Academy)

During the holidays, Small Batch offers Holiday Gift Boxes. You can support Detroit youth this holiday season with the Small Batch Big Change Gourmet Gift Boxes which can make the perfect holiday gift for gourmet lovers, foodies, friends, family, co-workers, and clients. See what’s in each box at

Community Connect Host Jackie Paige, with Tiffany Brown, Program Director of Detroit Food Academy

Tiffany Brown, Program Director of Detroit Food Academy, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to talk about each program hey offer and how the skills learned by each student helps them in everyday life and into their future.

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