Business-in-residence Spotlight: Ribbon Farm Hops

What do they do? Ribbon Farm Hops, LLC is an urban farm that grows hops in southwest Detroit, selling them to home brewers and small batch craft breweries. They also use them to make specialty gift items, such as relaxation pillows and ornaments. In addition to growing hops for brewers, RFH has also partnered with Detroit Tube Products, an industrial tube bending company based in Southwest Detroit, to design and manufacture a trellis system they hope to make available to other hop growers. You can see a prototype of their trellis system on the patio of Batch Brewing Company in Corktown! The Start: Ribbon Farm Hops (RFH) was founded in February 2013 as a result of Susan Mccabe's decision to change her career after 30+ years of working in museums. Learning about the history of … [Read more...]

Video Oral Histories of the Green Garage

Last month, Liz Riedman, an Anthropology Master's student at Wayne State University, interviewed three of the original founders of the Green Garage, Helen Bradley and Don and Mitzi Carter. The interviews were recorded and are below for you to listen to. The videos are brief, each not more than 5 minutes, but they do provide a sense of the original thought behind the Green Garage project, and give insight into several key design decisions that make the Green Garage what it is today. Hope you enjoy them! And thanks, Liz, for helping us embark on our oral history journey. … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: ABISA

Clearing the path of socio-economic and civic integration What do they do?  The African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA)’s main goal is to help resolve the gap between African immigrants in metro Detroit and the resources they need to clear the path to economic mobility, civic integration, and social and cultural inclusion. They do this by advocating for mentor programs in education, teaching ESL classes, running immigration clinics, providing free legal aid, and working to educate immigrants on societal needs and civic engagement opportunities. Who? Seydi Sarr founded ABISA as a result of the recurring problems within Detroit’s West African community, saying, “It’s disheartening to see families come here and make all these sacrifices. Yet, 20 years later their … [Read more...]

“A Workspace With A Heart”

Every summer our businesses host a number of interns, adding another dynamic element to our work. Last month one of the interns for Fresh Corner Cafe, Will Stewart, wrote a piece about his experience in The Michigan Daily. He titled it A Workspace with a Heart: A Look at Detroit's Sustainability Leader. We think he did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of the Green Garage. Take a look! … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: Camp Tavor

  What does your business do? Camp Tavor, a nonprofit Jewish youth camp located in Three Rivers, MI (but headquartered at the Green Garage), cultivates self-confidence and community in Jewish youth through activities that focus on sustainability, creativity, and collaboration. Camp Activities: Camp Tavor’s enriching programs include daily “popular education” seminars based on the summer’s theme (e.g., a few years ago, the theme was compost). Campers also take part in kibbutz-style dorming where youth of all ages take responsibility for different aspects of their camping experience. For example, campers will be assigned special jobs to perform every morning such as cleaning or preparing meals. Furthermore, Camp Tavor offers employment opportunities for teenagers and … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: ProSeeds

Planting the seeds of change… What? ProSeeds is a consulting firm that supports community and economic development by providing grant writing, project management, and technical assistance to nonprofits located in Detroit. Who? Libby Levy, Principal of ProSeeds, works independently as a business consultant. However, she partners with a wide variety of companies and civic organizations to achieve her community development goals. She also teaches urban planning graduate students at the University of Michigan. A number of Libby’s partners are actually other Green Garage businesses, including Goaltrac, New Solutions Group, livingLAB, Center for Community Progress, Patronicity, and more recently, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. When and How? In the early 2000s, Libby, … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: CollabFeature

What do they do? CollabFeature is a collaborative filmmaking platform that facilitates the creation of multi-director  feature films, series, documentaries, and news media. Who? CollabFeature is Marty Shea (who works at the Green Garage) and Ian Bonner, along with an extensive network of more than 150 filmmakers from across the globe. Marty’s Background: Marty’s passion for film can be traced back to when he was just a kid. Utilizing the limited cast of his two sisters, Marty would make movies. This passion followed him to college, where he took Film Studies classes. Those film classes, meanwhile, led to a job at the Michigan Film Office and an internship on his first film set. That internship led him to a career as a producer, director and crew member where he worked on … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: LaunchGood

Crowdfunding Incredible Muslims Worldwide  What? LaunchGood is a global crowdfunding platform that supports and aids Muslims in raising funds for ideas, projects, and creative efforts. Projects they promote include: The first women’s Muslim workout DVD Fundraising for traumatic events such as the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings Home for Orphan Girls- Provides Quality Education, Healthcare, Wholesome Nutrition, Shelter, Clothing, Loving Home Environment, Guidance, and Hope to orphan girls in Lahore, Punjab. Safe hands for Girls- Works towards ending female genital mutilation. (Gambia) Winter relief for Syrian Refugees in Greece- “provide an extremely vulnerable population with bare essentials for winter, such as warm food, hats, gloves, socks, blankets, … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: livingLab

Landscape architecture : planning : project realization   What do they do? livingLAB is a planning and landscape architecture design studio that partners with governmental entities, cities, townships, neighborhood organizations, and other nonprofits, as well as private landowners, to create sustainable, cutting-edge planning and community design projects. Who? Leah Groya(planner and interviewee), Jason Macdonald, Courtney Piotrowski (landscape architects), and Lauren Hoffman (landscape designer). The Start: livingLAB started five years ago when Leah, Jason, and Courtney, who all worked together previously,  discussed their idea of wanting to start a design studio where they could be integrated with the community, heavily involved in projects, and flexible with … [Read more...]

Mistakes are the compost for growth and learning

Every Thursday from 12:00-1:30, the Green Garage hosts an open lunchtime conversation about the leadership of triple bottom line businesses. Regularly in attendance is Harriet Greenwood, who operates her consultancy Greenwood Solutions out of the Green Garage. This post, originally published in Harriet's blog, was inspired by the conversation at one of those lunches.  * * * Mistakes are crucially important to entrepreneurs. When you’re working on something new, it’s normal for things to go wrong. The only real failure is the failure to learn from what happens. Life experiences – which inevitably include mistakes – are the best teacher. Some programs encourage entrepreneurs to write business plans and go the bank right away for financing.  Those business plans are often pure fiction.  … [Read more...]