Finding Fresh Food in Food Deserts


Last fall I wrote a blog post about food deserts–inner city areas that don’t often have access to full-service grocery stores, making it more difficult for residents to eat fresh produce. Thankfully, there are people who realize how big the issues is and have taken the initiative to make a difference in their cities.

Now, state and local governments are getting involved, in addition to community groups, because it’s become obvious that lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a public health issue.

Check out what’s been going on in Michigan, as reported by the Associated Press:

Fair Food Network: A non-profit organization that works in partnership with other organizations to design a food system that upholds the fundamental right to healthy, fresh and sustainably-grown food, especially in historically-excluded communities.

Green Grocer Project: The City of Detroit plans to use federal block grant funds to create a revolving loan fund for financing store improvements for the city’s mostly independent grocers.

Project Fresh: An educational program providing participants with coupons to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmer’s markets.

Feeding America West Michigan: West Michigan’s regional nonprofit clearinghouse for saved, donated food on its way from the food industry to churches and charity agencies that assist needy people. Since 1998, the organization has been using converted beverage distribution trucks to deliver perishable food to drop-off points and it’s expanding its efforts to support fresh food delivery.

MI Neighborhood Food Movers: A collaborative effort between the State of Michigan, many local Detroit partners, and individuals seeking to become entrepreneurs in the fresh food movement. The goal is to bring more healthy food into neighborhoods with roving trucks.

Detroit FRESH: The Healthy Corner Store Project: Detroit FRESH works with many corner stores of different sizes in Detroit’s neighborhoods to equip them with supplies such as baskets, shelves, and basic produce handling information. Coordinators also connect them to a produce distributor who delivers smaller quantities that such stores typically handle.

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