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A food desert in Michigan you never hear about: the Upper Peninsula

Oct 8, 2014

Credit user mytvdinner / Flickr

When we talk in Michigan about "food insecurity" and "food deserts", it's usually about Detroit, Flint and cities battling poverty.

But there is another region where access to healthy, fresh food is a constant challenge: the Upper Peninsula.

Take Alger County. It has been classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a "low income, low access community." That means people have to drive at least ten miles to get to a fully stocked grocery store.

John Sherman-Jones is co-founder and chair of the Alger Community Food Pantry. He says because Alger County is so spread out, it's not unusual for people to drive a long way to get to a well stocked grocery store. While small stores are available here and there, they often don't have fresh and seasonal produce selections for residents.

Matt Raven is a professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. He and his team are developing an incubator farm in Alger County as a way to combat food insecurity. According to Raven, the program aims to provide resources and training to local farmers with necessary skills to apply to their own lands.