Summer is here and that means many of us in the City of Grand Rapids are enjoying one of our favorite pastimes; visiting our local farmer’s market. The local farmer’s market can be an invaluable asset to the community.
It is no secret that urban areas can develop into what is known as a “food desert”, where there is a scarcity of fresh produce and healthy food choices available to the residents. Detroit is a premium example of the this. No major grocery stores have any serious representation in Detroit, for a variety of reasons, and this leaves residents with inadequate transportation options in a difficult position. While there are usually many locations to buy food, and many of them are willing to accept Bridge Cards from those on state assistance, the majority of the businesses in a “food desert” are convenience stores and gas stations that sell highly processed foods loaded with salt,sugar and fat, but little else in the form of nutrition.
Grand Rapids’ South East Area is considered to be one of these “food deserts”. In recent years, the South East Area Farmer’s Market has provided some relief for the residents of the area at the Franklin St and Fuller St intersection.
Not only did residents have a good location to buy locally grown produce, organically grown foods, and have the opportunity to meet the people providing the food to the community, but the market even provided opportunity for kids in the community to get involved themselves.
On my first visit to the South East Area Farmer’s Market in 2008, I observed a local outreach program where local teens could work on the farms learning the value of sustainable farming and develop the skills it takes to operate as a business to bring the product to the market and sell them to local customers. All of this opportunity to work and learn in a real life environment helps young adults build self-esteem and confidence, and hopefully helps them make better choices in their lives. I was incredibly moved by this program.
The South East Area Farmer’s Market has moved its location this year. It will now be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church at 1905 Madison St, just north of Burton St. Here are pdf files in ENGLISH and SPANISH for you to download and share.
Below is the press release I recieved from Jill Myer, Public Health Program Supervisor for Kent County Health Dept.
The USDA recommends eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Consuming fruits and vegetables has been proven to decrease risks for a number of health related conditions including: diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease