Tuesday, September 6, 2011

[HOT LIST] Eat to do good

Fresh Food Share box (photo from Gleaners Food Bank)
Some people eat to live. Some live to eat. And then there are those who eat to do good. While people are becoming more conscious of what they eat in terms of environmental and economic sustainability, still others see food as an opportunity to make a political statement and enact social change. Whether that is getting involved with food activism targeting specific legislation (such as the Michigan Good Food Charter), operating an urban farm through a nonprofit organization, or helping to make inexpensive fresh food available in urban areas, now more than ever you are what you eat.

#1 Fresh Food Share (Detroit)
The Fresh Food Share (FFS) is a community food program in the city of Detroit that is part of the Green Ribbon Collaborative - a partnership between Gleaners Food Bank, Eastern Market, the Fair Food Network and Greening of Detroit. The Hannan Center is the local distribution and volunteer center. Through this program, community members can participate in a monthly fresh food program (similar to a CSA) payable by cash, check, or Bridge card. Shares of fresh fruits and vegetables are available in a variety of sizes up to 30 pounds ($17), or you can choose to support a senior with a 20-pound mixed fruit and veggie box for only $14. Orders are due by noon on the second Thursday of the month through December 8 (the next order is due in by September 8); distribution is on the third Friday. For more information or to place an order, call 313-550-8034.

#2 SEED Wayne
SEED Wayne is a program administered through the Wayne State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Department of Urban Studies and Planning) designed to help build a sustainable food system on the WSU campus and in the local community. They partner with other area nonprofits to create a culture of awareness and access, and the education starts with their own students. Since its launch, the program has planted three urban vegetable and herb gardens and now hosts a weekly on-campus farmers' market on Wednesdays (through October 26). They are also involved with fledgling programs such as Detroit FRESH (an effort to get fresh produce in corner stores), as well as host an annual Harvest Dinner.

#3 Forgotten Harvest (Oak Park)
The mission of Forgotten Harvest is to fight hunger and waste in metro Detroit by rescuing surplus prepared and perishable food and donating it to emergency shelters. They have hundreds of regular donors in addition to community food drives organized by private entities such as corporate offices and community groups (especially during the holidays). Their efforts benefit over 150 food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless and domestic shelters, senior citizens' and group homes, and children's homes all over Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb Counties. They also partner with other local businesses and organizations for a number of fundraising events including an annual charity golf outing and charity fashion events.

#4 Gleaners Community Food Bank (Detroit)
Gleaners Community Food Bank also strives to fight hunger in Southeastern Michigan through community outreach, education, and food distribution. They deliver 36 million pounds of donated and purchased food to agencies and people in need annually, and hope to raise that number to 50 million by 2013. To assist their fundraising efforts they host special events (such as the Bernie Smilovitz 2011 Harvest Classic this Sunday, September 11) and organize food drives. They also sponsor programs like "Cooking Matters," which teaches families how to shop for and prepare economical and nutritious meals at home.

#5 Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Earthworks Garden (Detroit)
The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is an 82-year-old organization founded by Capuchin friars to tend to people's basic needs, especially the need for food. The organization is inspired by the philanthropic works of St. Francis of Assisi, and serves the people of metro Detroit through a number of programs including the On the Rise Bakery and the Earthworks Garden. They also offer clothing, shelter, and rehabilitative services. You can start doing your part by attending the Earth Works Garden Annual Harvest Dinner on September 17.

Bubbling under
Fair Food Network Detroit, Slow Food Detroit, Feedom Freedom Growers, ROC-United