While much of our work is based on systems level change for a healthy, fair, affordable food system, we also work to incubate, support, document and share innovative community-based programs that encourage healthy living through increasing access, promotion, and affordability of fresh healthy food. We work with community partners throughout Michigan, particularly in Detroit and Ann Arbor, on a number of initiatives that bring together eaters, health care professionals, and sustainable food system businesses on the ground.
We're always looking to learn about and share innovative models and opportunities for promoting healthy people, communities, and environments by connecting food systems and health care. Take a look at some of our current initiatives below. Get in touch if there's something you have to share or would like to see featured here!
Fresh Prescription is a fruit and vegetable prescription program that brings together the healthcare system and the food system, fostering innovative relationships to build a healthy sustainable food system in Detroit. This promising approach to a healthier food system connects patients to fresh, locally-grown produce while providing direct economic benefits to small and midsize farmers.
The Ecology Center’s First Food program fosters a reciprocal relationship with maternal and infant health providers, breastfeeding advocates, and others in Detroit to champion a healthy, sustainable food system that increases healthy food access for families and promotes breast milk as the ideal first food for babies. To protect babies and breast milk, we work to minimize the use of pesticides and the unnecessary use of antibiotics, as well as our use of toxic chemicals that contaminate our food system.
There are a number of localized guides and resources than can help you connect to good food in your community. We're still working to update our website and bring everything on board, but check back soon for more!
"Hospitals Sow Seeds for Healthier Communities" This resource discusses how hospitals can build community around healthy eating, connecting physical health to the health of our food system. As large institutions, hospitals support a model for community health and wellness that goes far beyond their own walls.
"Farmers Markets and CSAs on Hospital Grounds" This pamphlet offers instructions for administrators on the best way to create farmer's markets and utilize CSAs on hospital grounds. Precisely because they are important community and health institutions, hospitals and hospital systems are in a unique position to both treat diet-related illness and address their root causes.
We're working on a "Guide to Good Food" which will put information about where to find fresh food directly in the hands of Detroit residents. It will include a map of farmer's markets and farm stands, as well as a comprehensive listing of programs that offer help with growing food, nutrition, and cooking classes, and ways to get "Good Food" on a budget.
When institutions invest in healthy, sustainable, fair and affordable food, whether through programs, procurement, or infrastructure, they have a cascading effect. From increasing farmer's market options in communities to supporting small and midsize farmers, when institutions like hospitals and schools commit to making a change in the food system, they're also making a change for the communities they serve.
Published on February 21, 2017