Lydia Gutierrez works.
She works as president of Hacienda Mexican Foods in Detroit. She works as a stellar community leader in, and as a fervent ambassador of, southwest Detroit. And she works a room she passes through, embracing her employees like family as she asks about their weekend, genuinely interested.
Don’t blink, or you might miss The Grafted Root Eatery, on the edge of the Coach Stop shopping plaza near where South Saginaw Street meets Holly Road in Grand Blanc. Its understated exterior works for owner Michele Matthews, who likens the vibe to a speakeasy and would much prefer a secret knock to intrusive signage.
When Joannée DeBruhl’s 21-year insurance industry job fell victim to cuts, she saw a window of opportunity in the form of establishing a church garden. DeBruhl did more than produce 2,000 pounds of vegetables for Gleaners Community Food Bank. She found her calling. DeBruhl dedicated the next year to confirming that and honing her skills at Michigan State University’s Organic Farmer Training Program.