Week 5: A community issue – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 5: A community issue

Michigan Good Food Fund launches to promote access to healthy food throughout the state

Food accessibility has been an issue that I’ve been passionate about since I first learned that it was an issue. I’ve always been fortunate enough to have easy access to fresh, healthy foods. Yes, I definitely choose pizza more often than I choose a fresh salad for dinner, but at least I have the choice. For many around the country, the state, and right here in Detroit, that is not the case.

This lack of access leads to a number of negative health consequences, which disproportionately affect low income neighborhoods. As the article mentions, although Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation, there are still over 1.8 million Michigan residents who don’t have access to this fruitful harvest, with Wayne county, the county that houses Detroit and that I’ve called home my entire life, having the highest rate of food insecurity in the state (and among the highest in the nation).

It’s unacceptable. 

Food documentaries of all kinds love to use the sensational fact that our generation is the first to have a lower life expectancy than their parents, largely due to the obesity epidemic. While there’s no one smoking gun, access to healthy, fresh foods plays a big role in this.

That’s why I was so excited when I first read about the Michigan Good Food Fund. The Michigan Good Food Charter defines good food as “healthy, green (sustainable), fair (no one was exploited during its creation), and affordable,” all of which are things Detroit needs. I’ve been learning first hand how difficult it can be to get fresh, healthy, and affordable food in the city, even in midtown where it’s relatively easy compared to other areas of the city.

What I find most appealing about the fund is that it’s not only here to provide financial assistance to food producers, but also technical assistance for them, as well as counseling for businesses who are operating in and serving disadvantaged communities. While Detroit’s food scene is already growing and gaining momentum in exciting ways, most of this excitement hasn’t reached as far into low-income neighborhoods/households as it could. It’s my hope that the Michigan Good Food Fund can help change that.

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