On Saturday, Feb. 19, “Roadfood” aired on Detroit Public TV to spotlight how the Black community has shaped food culture in Detroit, one farm and one restaurant at a time.
“Roadfood” is a series that aims to help food lovers find delicious and unique American cuisine across the country.
During the show’s Detroit episode, Misha Collins, the show’s host, specifically focused on the influence of the Black community of the food culture in Detroit, especially collard greens, a soul food staple.
As the episode began, Collins met up with Willie Patman, an urban farmer who takes old vacant lots and turns them into plant havens. Patman explained his passion for increasing the supply of nutritious and sustainable food sources in his community. He said he strives to buy adjacent lots so he can turn them into gardens that grow vegetables, such as collard greens, for the community. Patman’s mission is to pass down his knowledge of gardening to the people of Detroit, and inspiring others to grow vegetables themselves. He was first influenced by his parents who created gardens, and, now, he’s passing down that love for gardening to others.
After meeting with Patman, Collins tried some of the most popular soul food eateries in Detroit. First, he stopped at Detroit Soul to meet the owners.
Detroit Soul is a soul food restaurant founded in 2015 by brother duo, Jerome Brown & Samuel Van Buren. Serving classic southern cuisine with a healthier twist, Detroit Soul has grown to be acclaimed as a local hotspot serving hearty portions of delicious food.
The spread that Detroit Soul prepared for Collin included turkey legs, collard greens, and more. Later, Collins met Sydney James, a local Detroit artist who paints murals throughout the city. During their conversation, James explained the importance of having resources for her community, and the importance of creating partnerships with local businesses and organizations that can provide goods and services for the city.
Lastly, Collins visited Soul in Wall, a premier sandwich shop which is known for its enormous and delicious sandwiches.
As the local episode aired, Ally, a Detroit-based banking and investment app, supported the Oakland Avenue Urban Farms with a $10,000 donation along with an additional $45,000 in donations to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, and Forgotten Harvest, through Feeding America.
In all, the show’s exploration of Detroit through it’s cuisine was an inspiring look at the Black artists, chefs and entrepreneurs whose traditions and dedication to their communities has created a legacy of support for the Motor City.
You can learn more about the “Roadfood” Detroit episode, and watch some of the show’s previous episodes on their website.