Forgotten Harvest CEO and community leader Kirk Mayes has announced he’s stepping down from his role as CEO of the Oak Park-based food rescue nonprofit at the end of this year. The news comes shortly after Forgotten Harvest moved into a new 78,000-square-foot building on Eight Mile Road, more than doubling its footprint and capacity for serving the community. Mayes recently received the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award from the Detroit Free Press.
As a Detroit native, Mayes grew up on the city’s West Side, where he learned early on he could be a catalyst for change in his hometown. As he entered the workforce after graduating from Michigan State University, Mayes’ affinity for investing in Detroit continued to show up in his work, from founding his own business, Village Gardeners, to his roles as executive director of the Brightmoor Alliance and CEO at Forgotten Harvest. Now, after eight years at the helm, what does the future hold for Mayes and the organization?
Mayes joins BridgeDetroit Engagement Director Orlando Bailey at the new Forgotten Harvest warehouse facility, at 15000 Eight Mile Road, for an exclusive, wide-ranging conversation. They talk more about Mayes’ decision to step down and the impact he’s had at the organization since he started there in 2014.
“I’ve got a couple more months till the end of the year, to continue to focus on being (CEO) of Forgotten Harvest, and that’s what I’m going to be doing,” Mayes says during the interview. “Once I complete this role and my responsibilities here, there’s a lot of things that I’ve been wanting to do… that would allow me to spread my wings and chase my dreams as an entrepreneur.”
As Mayes rounds out his time with Forgotten Harvest, he talks with Bailey about his future aspirations as a consultant, speaker and author, as well as potential plans to visit Africa and establish his roots there. Plus, Mayes weighs in on the speculation that he’s running for mayor, as well as discusses Detroiters’ most urgent needs right now, his love for the African diaspora, and what legacy and impact he thinks he’s been able to make on the world so far.
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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.