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Faces of the Network: Christine Quane

"EMC leverages their 123 year old history of being the state’s primary food hub to improve food access to those in SE Michigan; to support the agriculture sector by developing demand for produce, as well as creating an inclusive facility from which growers can sell their goods; to cultivate the food sector in the city from new food entrepreneur to multimillion dollar food businesses; to renovate the infrastructure in and around the district; and to create a shared community around food." – Christine Quane

Name: Christine Quane
Company/ Location: Eastern Market Corporation; 2934 Russell Street Detroit, MI 48207
Job Title: Regional Food Hub Director
Number of Years on the Job: Almost 4 Years
How much of what you currently use (food-wise) comes from Michigan? Approximately 75% - 80% of the food sold is either grown, processed or made with Michigan products/ ingredients
Number of vendors: Approximately 200 vendors: growers, grower/ dealers, specialty food producers, and ready-to-eat vendors
Number of Employees: 15 individuals run this operation
Most Challenging Aspect of Their Business: "Easily the most challenging part of my job is deconstructing the food system and rebuilding it to improve access to Michigan produce while returning the highest return on investment for all stakeholders."
Favorite Food/ Recipe: "Too many delicious favorites at the market to pick just one, besides, those vendors are like kids, I can’t pick a favorite."
What’s Unique about your Business? "Every single thing about the Eastern Market is unique: its history, its function, its conviviality. The magic is woven into the DNA of just about every person in SE Michigan and throughout the state."

Ever wonder where the largest and oldest public market is located? As it turns out, it sits right in the heart of our very own, beloved Detroit. With 14 acres under 5 buildings they call “Sheds”, this operation is proud to share that it has been Michigan’s largest food hub, supplying individuals with local, healthy products, for 123 years and running. How does one organization accomplish such an achievement, you ask? With some of the most forward thinking, problem solving oriented and down to earth individuals coming together to “figure it out.” One such person is Christine Quane, the Market’s Wholesale Market Coordinator.

Christine was born in Rockwood, Michigan, raised in Commerce Township, Michigan and lived in Chicago for a 10 year stint. She has a degree in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University and worked in manufacturing for 6 years where she implemented SAP (Enterprise Resource Planning Software). After she had her children, she attended culinary school at Schoolcraft College and graduated in 2010.  While in culinary school, she started to realize how strange it was that so little of the bounty of food coming off of local farms made it onto the plates not only at the college she was attending, but in other schools, universities and restaurants in the surrounding area. Knowing the link between processed food consumption and obesity, and having the opportunity to learn how food service operations sourced, it was then that she had an “ah ha!” moment: she could utilize both her supply chain and culinary degrees to try to figure out a solution to not only the issue of getting more Michigan produce on more plates, but also, perhaps moving the needle towards impacting the obesity epidemic. Six months later, she was given the opportunity at EMC and now is on the front lines, arm in arm with several partner organizations, working to affect change on both fronts in not only the Detroit area, but the entire state of Michigan.

In addition to this goal, Christine says she is most proud of the work Eastern Market, in partnership through generous grant dollars from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), did in the development of a local processor; Forgotten Harvest. “Through the addition of freezing equipment and other processing equipment, Forgotten Harvest has recently been approved as an approved vendor for US Foods and therefore opens the door for new opportunities to provide food-service-ready Michigan produce to Detroit Public Schools and Henry Ford Hospital,” which is a major feat.

As a member of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network's advisory committee, Christine has been working hard to contribute to the goals of both the Network and Cultivate Michigan to achieve her personal and institutional goal of working towards a healthier and more locally based food system.

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