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Introduction

The Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative, or DFFC, is a group representing more than 40 individual organizations that work to ensure all the residents of Detroit, Michigan have access to locally grown, affordable, and healthy food opportunities. More than just food, it also focuses on improving the physical activity and well being of the members of Detroit and its surrounding communities. The group originated in 2009 with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Community Program.[1] Detroit was one of nine communities to receive funds for instituting change in the areas of food, fitness, and health with special attention paid to vulnerable children.[2]

Objectives

The following are the key objectives of the DFFC, as defined by the Detroit Food and Fitness Community Plan of 2009 for the DFFC[3] :

  1. To provide access to healthy, fresh food to the citizens of Detroit
  2. To provide access to local produce
  3. Educate the people of Detroit about the importance of consuming healthy, fresh foods
  4. Encourage physical activity

Demographics

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, Detroit city, located in Wayne County Michigan, has the total population of 713,777 individuals.[4] The city is home to 20.5% of the total poverty of the state of Michigan, which rests at 14.4%.[5] The main goal of DFFC is simple; to help transform the city’s landscape to one that focuses on community- based food systems and create healthier environment for children and families.[6] With this effort, it is estimated that more jobs will arise[7], intending to decrease Detroit’s 16.7% unemployment rate.[8]Thus, overall, making Detroit a healthier and more appealing community.

Background

Grocery stores, once a staple of the Detroit economy, have virtually disappeared. In fact, the last chain grocery store within the city limits known as Farmer Jack closed in 2007 and, as a result, privately owned and operated businesses have become the sole source of fresh, unprocessed local food.[9] These businesses oftentimes do not accept the Michigan Bridge Card, a benefit offered by the state for those in need of food assistance benefits and nationally recognized as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For this reason, obtaining fresh food is difficult, if not impossible, for members of the Detroit community. After all, 58.3% to 62.7% of the population residing in Detroit and receiving SNAP benefits is living below the poverty line according to the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service’s study conducted in September 2011[10] ; therefore, individuals of the community have two options: incur additional fees by traveling to a distant grocery store or purchase cheap, highly processed, unhealthy food.[11]

Implementation

Although the efforts of the DFFC are not apparent yet, they are surely underway. Programs, such as the Double Up Food Bucks Project, aim to increase access to healthy, fresh, and sustainably grown food for low-income families.[12] The Green Ribbon Collaborative includes a partnership with the Eastern Market, Gleaners Community Food Bank and the Greening of Detroit, all working together to incorporate more healthy raw food into Detroit’s center.[13] A study conducted in 2007 by Social Compact, a non-profit organization focused on impoverished community’s economic data, concluded that 600,000 to 1 million additional square feet of grocery retail space could be supported by the city of Detroit[14] and is suggested to be a reason why non-profit and local farmers have already set aside plots of land for urban community gardens. [15] In addition, they have started to devise plans for sustainability and natural food distribution.[16]

References

  1. Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative Homepage. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  2. Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative Homepage. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  3. City Connect Detroit. A Call for Action: Detroit Food and Fitness Community Plan. Retrieved on 6 June 2012.
  4. U.S. Department of Commerce. >. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  5. U.S. Department of Commerce. >. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  6. Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative Homepage. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  7. Carmody, Dan (21). "Robust Local Food System". Michigan Citizen (A10). 
  8. U.S. Department of Commerce. >. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  9. Harrison, Sheena. A City without Chain Grocery Stores. CNNMoney. Cable News Network. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  10. Department of Research and Analysis. SNAPCharacteristics/Michigan/Michigan.pdf Characteristics of SNAP Households. U.S. Food and Nutrition Service. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  11. Carmody, Dan (21). "Robust Local Food System". Michigan Citizen (A10). 
  12. Fair Food Detroit. Fair Food Network. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  13. Begin, Sherri (2). "Collaborative Food Pantry Cuts Cost while Offering Choice". Crain's Detroit Business. 22 24 (3). 
  14. Neighborhood Market Drilldown. Social Compact. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  15. Holliday, Gerald; Kirsten Lee and Omari Sankofa (14). "Urban Agriculture Destined to Change Detroit's Food System for the Better". Michigan Citizen (A11). 
  16. Holliday, Gerald; Kirsten Lee and Omari Sankofa (14). "Urban Agriculture Destined to Change Detroit's Food System for the Better". Michigan Citizen (A11). 
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Detroit food and fitness collaborative, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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