| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter


Detroit Youth Food Brigade

The Detroit Youth Food Brigade brings Detroit teens together with local businesses to sell their products at local farmers’ markets. Students of the program also serve as interns for the participating food businesses, gaining job skills and an understanding of where food comes from before hitting stores and markets. 
Michigan Nightlight: In your view, what makes your program innovative, effective or remarkable? 
Detroit Youth Food Brigade Co-Director Amy Berkhoudt: It has really good four-way helping points. We have this entrepreneurial program for Detroit youth. We also help out small businesses and give them interns and a chance to have their product sold in different farmers’ markets, and we help small, popup farmers’ markets gain a larger spread of market goods. We also help the larger Detroit community gain more access to healthy food. Everyone wins. That’s what makes this work.
What was the best lesson learned in the past year?
We learned that it really takes a village to raise a child. I was a high school English teacher for the past two years, and I get to
...I love the idea that every moment can be a learning experience for these students while they’re gaining different skills.
see my students for a good amount of the day. I was always curious as to what happens when they leave the classroom and go home -- or not go home -- and what happens in the summer when parents are working. I also saw just how much the businesses want to help students, mentor them and bring them in. Also, I love the idea that every moment can be a learning experience for these students while they’re gaining different skills. It’s a very important thing to do, and, at this point in their lives, they can’t do it on their own. It’s our responsibility as the larger community to make sure students are raised right, and getting their hands into things that benefit them.
What was the hardest lesson learned in the past year?
I think that no matter how good your intentions are, it’s really important to have a strong level of communication, not only internally with the leadership and structures we have, but with anybody who has partnered, endorsed or is a stakeholder in the program. It is a hard but very good lesson to have learned.
One of our big goals is to have students equipped with the leadership skills necessary to create products and businesses one day.
What really differentiates this program?

The novelty of it is great. We really want this program to be completely run by students that are in the program one day so we are maintaining sustainability in our human capital. One of our big goals is to have students equipped with the leadership
skills necessary to create products and businesses one day. We hope to be keeping our current interns by bringing them on to the leadership team, so we can see this continue past these first two years.
What are the keys to success for your program?
I think our team is pretty important. We’re four very passionate and highly intelligent individuals, and we’re all pretty young. No one is over 25. I don’t think you have to be young to be a leader, but none of us have families so we have time to watch the project grow. The key to our success, I think, is that we have made a lot of friends along the way. We’ve made friends with the businesses we’ve partnered with, we’ve made friends with the farmers markets. We have been having a lot of fun with it.
What are people in your program most inspired by? 
We’re all inspired by our students, and, similar to the classroom, seeing any progress really takes time. It’s easy to become impatient when things are not going as planned, but we have bright shining moments. We can tell by the decisions they are making for themselves, the professionalism that is brought to the table, and their sense of responsibility and being respectful. These are wonderful moments. 
Signup for Email Alerts

Person Profile


  • Detroit Youth Food Brigade
    Detroit Youth Food Brigade (DYFB) is a collaboration between local high school students, food-based businesses, and neighborhood markets to promote food justice and build the local food economy in Detroit.


GreenFist Project at Sprout Urban Farms

How Motivated Kids and Better Food Access Fit Together

Stuart Ray, Mindy Ysasi, Mike Kerkorian, Ellen Carpenter from Grand Rapids' Nonprofits

Jumping Ship: Former Corporate Leaders Tell All

Berston Bicycle Club

Kids Discover the Power of Pedaling

View All People


Verona Early Grade Reading Achievement

Verona Early Grade Reading Achievement Program

Improving K-2 reading



Mixing learning and fun

Youth Initiatives Project

Youth Initiative Project

Connecting youth to causes they care about
View All Programs

Bright Ideas

ostdogood LIST

Company Supports 4th Grade Field Trips to Lake Michigan

Parents working more than one job or odd hours, a lack of funds, and no transportation often prevent kids from experiencing one of Michigan’s incredible natural resources. For the majority of west side Grand Rapids elementary school kids, Lake Michigan is sadly out of reach. OST has teamed up with Grand Rapids Public Schools to give fourth-graders at west side schools the opportunity to experience the big lake firsthand.


Youth Decide Where Grant Dollars are Spent

For Grand Rapids students who serve as trustees-in-training on the GRCF Youth Grant Committee, giving back to the community goes hand in hand with empowering students to succeed. 

TeenQuest thumb

TeenQuest helps future employees stand out above the crowd

As the economy continues to straighten itself out, there is no doubt any edge a first-time employee can get on entering the working world is important. TeenQuest is here to help.
View All Bright Ideas

Directly Related Content