By increasing healthy food access for mothers, babies are provided with the best nutrition possible during those critical first months. Our First Food program works to promote breast milk as the ideal first food for babies in communities throughout Detroit while also expanding access to healthier food for families. We foster reciprocal relationship with maternal and infant health providers, breastfeeding advocates, and others to organize around minimizing the use of pesticides, antibiotics and toxic chemicals that contaminate our food system.


Program Mission

Foster a reciprocal relationship with maternal and infant health providers, breastfeeding advocates, and others in Detroit to:

  • Champion a healthy, sustainable food system
  • Increase healthy food access for families
  • Promote and protect breast milk as the ideal first food for babies


Breastfeeding is Best for Babies & Mothers

  • Breast milk lowers infants' risk of diseases and infections
  • Mothers who breastfeed their babies reduce their risk of osteoporosis and cancer, and lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily
  • If 90% of U.S. families breastfed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would save $13 billion and prevent more than 900 infant deaths per year


When breastfeeding is not possible, the most appropriate secondary feeding options are:

  • Best alternative: Mother's own expressed milk
  • Next best: Screened and pasteurized donor milk
  • Otherwise, Infant formula


Healthy Babies Start with a Healthy Food System

Our food system us constantly under threat from pollution, including pesticides, heavy metals, and other persistent environmental chemicals.

  • Infant formula is nutritionally inferior to mother's milk, and often contains chemicals of concern
  • Mothers are exposed to industrial chemicals through our dairy, meat, produce, and processed food
  • It is well-documented that certain environmental chemicals end up in breast milk, and nursing babies are unnecessarily exposed
  • Despite the presence of industrial chemicals in breast milk, the benefits of breast milk far outweigh formula feeding


The Ecology Center's First Food, Good Food Project is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's generous support

Published on February 23, 2017


December 21, 2017
2017 has seen unprecedented rollbacks on public health and the environment. Ever wonder what you can do? Here are some concrete ways to create positive impact on climate, as well as other critical environmental health issues in 2018.
October 26, 2017
The Healthy Stuff team has been working on researching phthalates (THAL-eights), a plasticizer and solvent. We found that almost all the cheese products we tested were contaminated with phthalates, a hormone disruptor.
July 27, 2017
On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, food service directors and members of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network (MFIN) gathered for a Cultivate Michigan dry bean tour at the Frankenmuth Farmers Market.
July 25, 2017
Recent findings released by the Ecology Center, however, reveal that the dry powdered cheese mixes in those boxes have on average four times the amount of phthalates (thal-eights) than block cheese and other unprocessed cheeses.
April 27, 2017
By Guest Author, Amy Getman. Since 2008, Grant Fletcher has been changing the way the health system sources food for patients and employees at Bronson Healthcare. Fletcher recently decided to take on a new challenge: sourcing all eggs from local producers.
August 31, 2016
The EPA estimates that a child bringing a brown bag lunch to school every day throws away about 67 pounds of waste each school year. Learn how to tweak school lunch preparations to prevent the creation of tons of trash and keep chemicals of concern out of your child's lunch.