This is one of the most brilliant things I have seen in awhile. Yes, it is a plastic tub of watermelon.
Detroit is a food desert. There is a lack of grocery stores, small markets, and other avenues in which people can purchase fresh food and whole food to cook. However, fast food options abound.In the city, over 90% of food stamp recipients purchase their food at a liquor store, gas station or pharmacy (source). This is what is available near them.
While I visited the city for a work conference, I was able to tour many different ventures addressing the lack of access to food in the region, including community gardens and large scale urban ag(riculture)projects.
There was one that especially riveting. Peaches & Greens is a local market in an underserved neighborhood, providing healthy foods at a reasonable price to an area that otherwise would not have access to such choices. In addition, there is a truck that travels 5 days a week around the city. It is an ice cream truck model of providing fruits and veggies to this food desert.
I had a chance to stop in the market of Peaches & Greens on a hot and sticky June day. As I started to browse, I noticed these:
Yum-o. Across the way, I saw a cooler that had some diced watermelon in cups. As I wolfed down my purchase, the founder, Lisa Johanson, explained how this came about. Neighbors would come into the store and shop around. A grouping of men often came in looked at the watermelons, but never purchased. One day a worker asked why not. “Cause I don’t have any way of eating it”. These men were homeless, squatting nearby. They had no knifes, no way of eating the watermelon they wanted. Brilliantly, Peaches & Greens began to serve watermelon cut up. Now, watermelon is one of their biggest selling items.
Access. Access to food is needed, from the ability to bring it in to neighborhoods, all the way down to making sure that it is accessible in a form to eat. We need to at least provide the choice of healthy foods.
What is wonderful here is the compassion that is occurring. There is true listening of the needs of the area, with help and change coming from within. Lisa lives in the area and she understands the lack presence of healthy options. How simple is it to cut up a watermelon. How true is it that I would have never thought about people walking in and out of a home down the street from the store, wouldn’t have a knife to eat their food with.
Hope starts small:
So, now what? Don’t read this and think you don’t have a role here!
What can you do TODAY to make a difference:
2. Have a garden? Think of donating some of your goods to a food pantry. Find one near you that accepts produce donations:
4. A 30 second action: Ask our President to help the hungry and stick to the Millennium Development Goals we agreed to: http://actionaidusa.org/do/petitions/recruitment/g20_hungeraction
5. Remember those who are hungry, be it in your prayers, your thoughts, your actions.
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