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        Fiona Ruddy, 24

        Alternative food program coordinator, Eastern Market Corp., Detroit

        Fiona Ruddy, alternative food program coordinator for Eastern Market Corp. in Detroit, is a 2013 Crain's 20 in their 20s honoree.
        • Why she lives in metro Detroit: "This region is really, really special, and it's so diverse and there is something really magical about that."
        • Claim to fame: Ruddy launched the Eastern Market Tuesdays program in 2011 and runs the Detroit Community Markets and Eastern Market Farm Stand programs.
        • Next step: Working with 13 other fresh food access programs to help coordinate them and raise their profile in the city.

        Food is a passion for Fiona Ruddy, and getting the people of Detroit access to high quality food has become her livelihood.

        Ruddy attended the University of Michigan for a degree in political science with a minor in peace and social justice. She was out of school a year before joining the team at Eastern Market Corp.

        A position at Zingerman's Deli and an internship at Freedom House, an organization in Detroit providing asylum for refugees, helped prepare her for a career at Eastern Market, Ruddy said.

        She was brought on board in 2011 to orchestrate the launch of the Eastern Market Tuesdays program, which was created by the corporation's management to meet demand for expanded market days instead of just being open on Saturdays.

        In the two seasons of Tuesdays, Eastern Market Corp. has grossed more than $47,000 in stall revenue. Bridge card revenue also increased by 36 percent between the 2011 and 2012 season.

        There was some skepticism of the idea at first.

        "A lot of our veteran vendors were definitely detractors at the beginning," Ruddy said. "To have a bunch of people tell you that you're going to fail even before you start is an interesting place to be in. But we knew the demand was there."

        Though the Eastern Market Tuesdays program has been a success, Ruddy is most proud of her work with the Detroit Community Markets program, a citywide network of fresh food programs.

        She's also in charge of the Eastern Market Farm Stand program that takes food from vendors straight to corporate and health care sites.

        Ruddy's roots in the city run deep: A paternal ancestor, Jean Casse dit St. Aubin, owned one of the original French settler ribbon farms on the Detroit River, she said.

        Ruddy believes the work being done by Eastern Market to get fresh food out to more people in the city is making a big impact.

        "By going out into the community and making the fresh food more available, it is definitely helping the long-term health outcomes for the city," Ruddy said.