Meg Burritt is the Leader of Business Development and came to Planted Detroit with extensive experience in the grocery world. Read on for her take on our pandemic pivot.
March 2020 was a pivotal time for everyone - not just here in Detroit, but around the world. When we first started hearing stories about communities affected by Covid-19, our leadership team huddled in a quiet room and talked about what we would do if the outbreak came to our town. Would we shut down the farm? How do we keep the plants growing - if we’re under quarantine? Most importantly - would our biosecurity practices be enough to keep our farm family, their families, and our customers safe?
Ultimately we kept the plants growing and kept everyone safe - just as we still do today. But pretty soon, we didn’t have any customers to sell those greens to: all of the restaurants we served had shut down. Mourning for our friends with job and financial losses at stake, and fearing for the food industry as a whole, but knowing we needed to secure a fresh food supply for our neighbors - we took a big risk and decided to pivot. We opted to sell the plants that we had grown for restaurants directly to our customers, those Detroiters who were now cooking every meal at home.
Simon, our Leader of Biosecurity, quickly scheduled a virtual inspection of our growing and processing room with the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture, who certified us as a processor. This was big news: now we could sell more than just the greens we grew - we could add value to them! We decided to build salads, writing the recipes ourselves, and taste testing them in the office kitchenette. Purchasing toppings we couldn’t grow in the farm from our friends down the road at Eastern Market, we made three perfectly delicious, plant-based, gluten and allergen-free salads, with 100% of the greens, herbs, and microgreens grown right here in the Islandview neighborhood of Detroit.
The truth is that we always wanted to be more than a farm, and the Covid-19 crisis gave us a chance to take that risk. We know that growing greens is just one part of feeding the world - and we’re always striving to do more to reach that goal. We now feel that the risk was well worth it, as we are delivering ready-to-eat meal salads to customers across the metro Detroit region every day - right to their door. What are you doing for lunch tomorrow?
To talk grocery delivery services, great danes, or bicycles, Meg can be reached at email@example.com.