Green Garage Member Stories – Brendan Ross

Brendan Ross calls himself  a “photographic generalist.” What is that, you might ask? Brendan is open to all kinds of photography jobs, from professional portraits to event photography to photographing workers in factories.  He says his favorite kind of assignment is taking photos in factories, of both the machines and the workers. Brendan Ross Photography started in 1971 right here in Detroit. After a handful of years in advertising, Brendan started his photography business because he felt that he could do a lot on his own, and he had a burning desire to start his own business. His company has changed a great deal since it was founded 46 years ago. In its earlier days, Brendan employed a team of assistants and had both a darkroom and extensive studio space. Over time, with … [Read more...]

Green Garage Member stories – Gracie Xavier

Gracie Xavier is the Director of Corporate and Economic Development Strategy for Global Detroit, a nonprofit-in-residence that works to revitalize southeast Michigan’s economy through immigrant attraction and retention. In that capacity, she leads the Global Talent Retention Initiative of Michigan, which helps companies retain their foreign-born talent. Gracie, says that working out of the Green Garage has greatly affected her life in a positive way. She says that she has become more environmentally conscious as a result of working here. She frequently finds herself looking for a recycling bin when she has something recyclable, and if there isn’t one in sight, she asks for one. Before she worked in the Green Garage, she says she didn't pay much attention to things like recycling, and now … [Read more...]

Hello From Nicolas

Hello all, My name is Nicolas Perales, and as a few Green Garage residents know, I am a new intern here at Green Garage. Since I am new here, I feel the need to give a small introduction of myself so that everyone can know me, and a little bit of who I am. I am a Sophomore at Detroit Cristo Rey High School. I've been here in southwest Detroit for the entire 15 years of my life, and in those 15 years, I have developed a few notable interests and skills that I would like to share with you all. I'll begin with academics, as those are the least interesting things about me. I am the leader of my robotics team's marketing branch. I'm also on debate team, as well as being on the freshmen student council and currently running for sophomore student council.   Now onto the … [Read more...]

TBD Magazine Article on the Rooftop Farm

Our rooftop farm was covered in September's edition of TBD Magazine, a local journal that covers the people and ideas that define modern Detroit. The article profiles the work of Sarah Schnell, the manager of the garden, and includes some great photos. Take a look! The Greenest Garden by E.M. Sommerville (TBD Magazine, September) … [Read more...]

Global Community Lunch conversations: Gracie Xavier and Abdul Muhit

Throughout September our community lunch presentations have centered on the global community within our walls. We've paired people up from disparate backgrounds each week to share their stories in conversations facilitated by our friend Keith Owens of the Michigan Chronicle. We feel lucky to have such a richness of backgrounds in our building. The first week we heard from Amany Killawi (from LaunchGood) and Michel Soucisse (from the El Moore). Amany's family comes from Syria and Michel's from Quebec, Canada. Amany shared with us the story of her family's planned move back to Syria in 2001, which was put on permanent hold because their departure date was 9/11, and the move was eventually abandoned. Michel shared about the surprisingly historic connections he's found between his … [Read more...]

Some new (old) library books

Last week Martha, one of the volunteers who works at the Green Garage's library, came in with 2 books she had acquired at an Ann Arbor book sale. The books are both titled History of Detroit and Michigan, and were written by Silas Farmer. Did I mention that the books were written in 1884? And that they are in great condition? Together, the volumes total over 1,200 pages, and can be separated into two categories. Volume 1 focuses on Detroit's history, including wonderful sketches of various buildings and residences, and Volume 2 deals with 'famous' people of Detroit, including full page portraits of these individuals (overwhelmingly white male, with the exception of one woman we spotted). The books are an irreplaceable treasure trove of historic detail, both in text and … [Read more...]

More Video Oral Histories — Tom and Peggy Brennan

In March I wrote a post about some video oral histories of the Green Garage prepared by Liz Riedman, a Green Garage volunteer and Anthropology Master's student. Those featured 3 of the founders, Don and Mitzi Carter and Helen Bradley. Today I'm adding two more, this time featuring Tom and me. Once again, these are brief, but provide a nice look at some of the thinking behind the design of the Green Garage.  … [Read more...]

Farewell, So Long, Goodbye

Dear Green Garage Community,   Nehe-Miah Scarborough speaking. Having interned with the Green Garage for 2 years, I learned a lot, which is to be expected when you spend your time working with amazing people. I learned the importance of independence, diversity of thought, and diversity in general. I learned that making money, by yourself and for yourself, aren’t characteristics to be ashamed of. I learned that while being an employee is great, it should not be the sole curriculum taught to students. Rather, they should learn that manning their own businesses and obtaining entrepreneurial skills aren’t impossible goals. And if anyone ever deems them impossible, they should simply step into the Green Garage and take a peek. Notice the “manager” who may seem like an employee at face value. … [Read more...]

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...]

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