Out in front of the Zingerman’s Roadhouse, a 935-pound mountain of food gathered up by 11 participants in this year’s edition of Cranksgiving – a variant of an alleycat bicycle race. Food goes to Food Gatherers. Sponsors of the event included: Morgan & York, Commoncycle, Two Wheel Tango, Great Lakes Cycling and Sic Transit. [photo] Tailwinds to everyone involved!
Graduation ceremony for Food Gatherers Community Kitchen Job Training Program at Performance Network. [photo]
Ann Arbor city council meeting (Oct. 1, 2012): The council worked through its densely packed agenda in well under two hours, even though six separate public hearings were held.
Some of the votes, all of which were unanimous, reflected non-action.
The council voted to table a revision to its medical marijuana licensing ordinance, having postponed it twice previously. Tabling is unlike a postponement to a date certain, and leaves open the possibility that the council might not ever take the question up again. However, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) indicated she intended to take up the medical marijuana ordinance again within six months.
The council has yet to act on recommendations from the city’s medical marijuana licensing board, made at the start of the year, to award licenses to 10 dispensaries. In the meantime, those dispensaries continue to operate. At the council’s Oct. 1 meeting, city attorney Stephen Postema indicated he would be creating a public document for the licensing board that would include a summary of pending legislation and court cases.
The council tabled a resolution on establishing a citizens committee to study the question of how to use proceeds from city-owned land sales. That tabling came at the request of the resolution’s sponsor, Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who had originally brought it forward at the council’s previous meeting.
The council also voted to extend by another 180 days a moratorium on digital billboards in the city – which the council first enacted back in April.
Three of the items on which the council took final action were at least indirectly related to stormwater. The council confirmed the appointment of the top area administrator whose department is responsible for stormwater management – Craig Hupy. Hupy’s appointment as public services area administrator comes after 26 years of service with the city.
The council also approved a $300,000 stormwater improvements component of a much larger $6.5 million street reconstruction project for Miller Avenue. The council authorized $50,000 to study the feasibility of opening up the railroad berm near Depot Street, which might allow floodwater to flow unimpeded to the Huron River on the other side. The study is also meant to cover the possibility of a non-motorized transportation connection under the berm, for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Related to water only in name was a tax abatement granted by the council to Barracuda Networks, which is relocating from Depot Street to downtown Ann Arbor and expecting to add 144 jobs.
The council also approved a raft of proposals related to land use. Winning approval were site plans for a Fiat dealership on West Stadium Boulevard and an expansion of the Food Gatherers facility on Carrot Way. The rezoning of a strip around the perimeter of a parcel at Miller and Maple, where a Speedway gas station will be constructed, got final approval.
A proposed townhouse project on Catherine Street got its rezoning as well as site plan approved. At the public hearing neighbors praised the project and developer Tom Fitzsimmons for what he had done to work with them.
The Plymouth Green Crossings project, which has already been built, got initial approval for revisions to its planned unit development (PUD) supplemental regulations.
The council also added 73 acres to the land protected under the city’s greenbelt program by approving the purchase of development rights on the Hornback farm in Salem Township.
The council weighed in on a state ballot question – which would require electric utility companies in Michigan to provide 25% of their power with renewable sources by the year 2025 – by passing a resolution in support of it.
One of the more significant pieces of news to come out of the meeting was an announcement from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) that he could not attend the council’s Oct. 15 meeting. That’s when the council is due again to take up the question of putting $60,000 towards a $300,000 local match for a $1.2 million federal grant that would fund a transportation connector study. It needs eight votes to pass.
Food Gatherers has received approval to expand its large warehouse, adding cooler and freezer space to accommodate its focus on fruits, vegetables and other fresh food. The Carrot Way site, on Ann Arbor’s far north side, is a hub for the nonprofit’s food distribution. The approval came at the Ann Arbor city council’s Oct. 1, 2012 meeting. The city planning commission recommended approval of the site plan at its Aug. 21, 2012 meeting.
The site plan was a revision to the nonprofit’s planned unit development (PUD), which will allow for a 12,646-square-foot addition to the back of the existing 16,977-square-foot building.
That building houses the nonprofit’s administrative offices, storage warehouse, and training space. The plan also will add 22 parking spaces to the site, …
Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Aug. 21, 2012): Projects related to food, Fiats and housing all won recommendations for approval at the most recent planning commission meeting.
Food Gatherers hopes to expand its large warehouse, adding cooler and freezer space to accommodate its focus on fruits, vegetables and other fresh food. The Carrot Way site, on Ann Arbor’s far north side, is a hub for the nonprofit’s food distribution – staff and volunteers distributed about 5.75 million pounds tons of food in the last fiscal year to those in need. Several commissioners praised the work. They had only a few questions or comments about the project, including a suggestion to use graywater for irrigating gardens on the site.
Also winning approval was a plan to build a new Fiat showroom next to the post office on West Stadium Boulevard, now owned by the Suburban Collection of Troy. The color scheme for Fiat is scarlet and gray, which elicited some ribbing from commissioners that the building’s designer had heard before. And no, he said, there’s no maize-and-blue dealership being planned for Columbus, Ohio.
The third project on the commission’s Aug. 21 agenda was also competitively colored: Changes in the site plan for Plymouth Green Crossings. The owner is asking for several alterations to a 2006 plan – adding parking spaces, eliminating a proposed freestanding restaurant, and more than doubling the permitted amount of space that can be used for restaurants on the site. Currently, the complex includes a bank and two mixed-use buildings with housing and retail/commercial businesses.
All three projects will move on to the Ann Arbor city council for consideration.
An expansion of the Food Gatherers’ facility in Ann Arbor moved ahead following action at the Ann Arbor planning commission’s Aug. 21, 2012 meeting. Commissioners unanimously recommended approval of changes to the nonprofit’s planned unit development (PUD), which will allow for a 12,646-square-foot addition to the back of the existing 16,977-square-foot building.
That building houses the nonprofit’s administrative offices, storage warehouse, and training space. The plan also will add 22 parking spaces to the site, and includes an expansion of produce-washing stations, used to clean vegetables grown at gardens on the site. The Carrot Way site is located on the north side of Ann Arbor off of Dhu Varren Road, east of Pontiac Trail.
According to a staff memo, the changes include a …
On Nov. 25, Thanksgiving eve, NBC will air a special show that catches up with the lives of former contestants of “The Biggest Loser,” a series in which people compete to lose weight. Pete Thomas of Ypsilanti was a contestant in the show’s 2005 season, and he’ll be among those featured in the upcoming special.
What you probably won’t see on that show is a segment shot on a cold October morning at Food Gatherers. An NBC film crew spent a couple of hours taking footage of Thomas at the Food Gatherers warehouse and gardens off of Dhu Varren Road, on Ann Arbor’s north side. The segment was originally intended to be part of a broader profile of Thomas, who dropped 140 pounds during and after his appearance on “The Biggest Loser.”
But a couple of weeks after the shoot, NBC told Food Gatherers that their segment was being cut from the show – instead, producers planned to highlight a marathon that Thomas going to run. The Food Gatherers spot might air on NBC.com, but that’s uncertain.
The Chronicle got to tag along during the Food Gatherers portion of the shoot. Here’s a look at what goes into making a reality-ish show – even the parts that might never make it on TV.
Matthew Milia of Frontier Ruckus led off Tuesday night’s set at The Ark just the way he started the band – with David Jones sitting by his side. With Jones’ gentle plucking of the banjo and Milia on guitar, Milia eased into Driving Home, Christmas Eve: “The churchyard is frozen, the Salvation Army is closin’, your child is dozin’ asleep …” But the repeated rhyme stopped there and did not become a caricature of itself in the way that a Dylan lyric sometimes does.
As the evening progressed, the pair …
At 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, the offices of Food Gatherers at 1 Carrot Way were fairly quiet, with just a handful of people milling around, chatting and checking out the display of old food products. (Anyone remember PDQ drink mix?)
That scene changed dramatically at 7:05, when the first of four chartered buses started dropping off Frito-Lay sales reps, coming for a marathon volunteer effort to pack food boxes for Thanksgiving meals. By 7:25, the volume level had ratcheted up with roughly 200 people crammed in elbow to elbow, ready to get to work.
It was a surprisingly loud whistle from Eileen Spring, president of Food Gatherers, that called the crowd to order. The assembled graduates, friends and family were at the Delonis Center today to celebrate their completion of the Culinary Arts Training Class. And the pre-graduation mood was certainly lively and celebratory enough to require whistling to order.
The Culinary Arts Training Class is part of the jobs training program …