food insecurity

Grocery cart
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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.

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The Livingston County chapter of the Salvation Army is out of food.

Brighton Ford is organizing an emergency food drive called "Fill-A-Ford Full of Food" Saturday with the goal of restocking the food pantry of the Salvation Army. It will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Brighton VG's Fresh Market.

In recent weeks the food pantry was pulling money from a summer children's fund to purchase food from Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan, according to Karen Swieczkowski, community relations director at Brighton Ford. Brighton Ford is spearheading tomorrow's food drive.

http://www.snre.umich.edu

The challenge of food insecurity is a fact of life for some 50 million Americans.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment are taking part in a major study to probe the causes and solutions to food insecurity in Michigan.

In short, their research will look into how to link up the people who are not getting enough fresh healthy food, to the producers and the sources of that safe healthy food.

University of Michigan Professor Dorceta Taylor is one of the lead investigators. She is a professor of Environmental Justice at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and she was kind enough to tell us about the issue of food security.

To hear the full story click the audio link above.

Gleaners Food Bank

People on the front lines of food insecurity in suburban Detroit say things are grim: demand is growing as federal and state food programs are cut.

In Macomb County, anti-hunger advocates are overwhelmed with need. The number of people needing emergency food assistance has almost doubled between 2008 and 2010.

John Kastler is with Gleaners Community Food Bank. He said those funds, particularly from the federal government, “really did make it a lot easier to stock the pantries and put food on the table.”

“And when you talk about these programs being cut and the funding disappearing…it really does put people in crisis,” Kastler said.

Sue Figurski, coordinator of the Macomb Food Program, said the state’s recent decision to implement an asset test for food stamp applicants has put even more strain on food pantries--and proved a degrading process for many seeking help.

“Do you think anybody really and truly wants to be on food stamps? Not be able to take care of their family? Not the people we talk to,” Figurski said.

Last month, Macomb County officials started a Food Policy Council to deal with the problem of growing hunger and declining resources.