Tell us about one of your favorite neighborhoods in Detroit and what makes it unique?
I suppose my favorite neighborhood in Detroit would have to be the one I live in, Hubbard Farms. This southwest community is home to Clark Park, independently-owned stores, community gardens and delicious Mexican Food. Hubbard Farms is a hotspot for newcomers but is also populated with families who have lived there for generations. The Hubbard Farms Neighborhood Association works to bridge the barriers that may be a product of problematic growth. The community leaders in my neighborhood are exceptional and I am grateful to have been welcomed into such a strong Detroit neighborhood.

Tell us about the challenge project you’re currently working on, what are you learning from the experience?
Challenge is currently working with the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA). My specific team is tasked with researching how Detroiters perceive the DLBA. Throughout the last few years, this organization has had large exposure through the media and the greater Detroit community. The perception that people have of the DLBA varies greatly and it has been an enriching experience to hear and learn from many individuals about their personal experiences.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.
I work for Forgotten Harvest, one of the nation’s largest food rescue operations. Forgotten Harvest is a local non-profit that has been serving metro Detroit for nearly 28 years. Our mission is to relieve hunger in our region while also preventing nutritious food waste. My title is the Fresh Food Alliance Coordinator. I am tasked with projects that will grow our food donor base. I have worked with farmers, independent grocery stores and local food entrepreneurs in efforts to feed more folks who need the supplemental food.

What kind of impact do you hope to have with your host company and within the city?
My hope is that my work at Forgotten Harvest continues to increase food donations and thus, feed more people. There are many food justice leaders in the city and I plan to continue to learn, work and collaborate with them. Each day I learn something new about Detroit and the needs that people face in regards to food. It has been an honor working in this field and I plan to continue contributing to this work, in some capacity, throughout my life.

What are you most looking forward to during the second half of your fellowship year?
As I settle into the second half of my fellowship, I am looking forward to continuing to learn about the DLBA and seeing not only what my team comes up with, but the work that comes to fruition from the other teams. As my interest in equitable land development expands, I am looking forward to having resources at the DLBA to learn from and discuss city processes with.

How do you believe your fellowship will shape your career moving forward?
Prior to Challenge Detroit, I had a certain skill set that allowed me to excel in nonprofits, the food sector, and community organizing. Being a fellow has allowed me to explore new skills, such as consulting, learning new design platforms and practicing human-centered design. In addition to new skills that will allow me to grow as a young professional, Challenge Detroit has exposed me to leaders in the Detroit community that I would not have met otherwise. These relationships will undoubtedly be part of the framework.

To learn more about Hannah’s experience as a Fellow, check out her spotlight video!