Food Management - Development Story

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The Food group met for about 4 weeks, 2 hours per week, in the winter of 2009. The focus of the discussion was centered on the philosophy of food management that we wanted to bring into the building. Did we want to offer drinks (coffee-tea) to everyone who walked in the door? How could we encourage better food choices (better for the environment) among employees and guests without dictating diets? What type of facility did we want - a full kitchen or a small kitchenette? What problems were associated with groups managing food spaces?

In the end, we settled for a philosophy we called "simple hospitality." Here's the plan we came up with:


We are trying to keep the initial design simple at the outset (think simple hospitality), and will incorporate more components as tenants determine the need. This will keep costs down (and thus help with lower rents for tenants) and better ensure that we have not overproduced the area with facilities that may not be required.

  • To provide people working at the GG and visitors with access to food and drink.
  • To make it easier for people to access healthy organic food and drink.
  • To provide some storage space for employees' food, drink, and condiments.
  • To minimize energy and water use through kitchen design and use.
  • To minimize waste in our food management system.
  • To provide a center for recycling, compost and garbage.
  • To design an education program for employees that will describe our food and waste philosophies and practices. Education program will be modified with input from tenants.
  • To minimize the effort that will be required to manage food and drink.
  • To connect with local restaurants and food vendors effectively.


  • Requirements for food at the GG to be discussed with the group at large and then passed on to Woody.
    • kitchenette with full-size refrigerator, counter, sink, microwave, coffeemaker, cupboards or shelves (and room for dishwasher if needed later)
    • another idea: locked cupboards (or divided cupboards) per business (14)
    • recycling center with 4 spots for garbage; plastics, glass and cans; paper; and returnable cans
    • place for compost bucket (can be on counter, in cupboard or on floor)
    • individual containers (like baskets) for 20 people to store their tea bags, sugar, etc
    • water filter at faucet
    • Kitchen sketch based on requirements by Woody.

Additional components of the food program

  • Water
    • available to all for free
    • plastic glasses or corn starch cups) available for visitors
    • tenants keep own glasses, and perhaps glasses for their own guests
  • Coffee
    • co-op plan (add to rent for those wishing to participate - either in or out)
    • employees have own mug
    • mugs available to visitors
    • bring own condiments (put in own cubby/basket)
    • if employees have guests, they add predetermined amount to coffee fund (Dan - factor price in)
    • need $ person to keep track of coffee funds and report monthly losses - group will determine solution
    • Dan - idea of someone owning coffee shop inside building (a tenant) - would bring more of the public in
  • Tea
    • hot water will be available either on coffeemaker or electric kettle
    • bring own bags or leaves
    • bring own condiments (put in own cubby/basket)
  • Other drink-related issues
    • coffee co-op members take turns making coffee and washing out pot - make note of supplies needed
    • visitors glasses/mugs washed out by relevant employee or tour guide
    • right now don't know what to do with dish towels
      • Peggy takes home every week
      • everyone brings their own
      • Dan - piggy back onto their linen service if laundromat not available
  • Food brought from home
    • bring only food required for day and take all back that night
    • encourage use of reuseable lunch boxes (bags) that can be kept at desk or in refrigerator
    • encourage reuse of food containers, which can be washed and dried after use (plastic bags taken back home)
    • encourage cloth napkins from home
    • if you need a plate, bowl, or silverware, bring these from home and take back
  • Food brought in from restaurants
    • encourage use of reuseable containers
      • how do we work with restaurants to use reuseable containers? Dan says they can sanitize containers that are brought in.
      • should we keep large bowls or round containers for pizza for people to use?
      • or could we keep containers that have already come from restaurants to be used again?
      • ask tenants to take containers home
      • Dan - packaging engineer as tenant? packaging think tank? Dan thinks that we could have a tenant manufacture a reuseable container(s) that we could use - try to get a group of restaurants participating.
  • Group events
    • either pot-luck or individual tenants take responsibility for own party (we could provide list of neighborhood restaurants/caterers)
    • educational workshop - pay fee and food/drink would be included
    • use composting plates, cups, silverware
    • pitchers for water
    • could encourage finger-food events
    • need to develop price list for coffee and tea for events
    • larger coffeemaker with hot water component
    • carafes for regular and decaf and hot water
    • might hire person to help with certain events
    • Matt Naimi sells green products
    • leftover food taken home by whoever ran the event or pot-luck participants
  • Handling visitors
    • water is free and tour guide washes glass
    • employee buys guest coffee