In Grand Rapids’ urban areas the ability to gain access to nutritional food is difficult and in some cases, impossible. The purpose of the project is to work with a local non-profit organization be more successful in helping people living in areas known as food deserts. “Food deserts are defined by the USDA as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers” (Gallagher, 2010). Having access to the produce is only the first obstacle. Rectifying this problem would also include access to fresh produce and the means to prepare the food in a healthy way. In a Liberal Studies course at Grand Valley State University called Food Matters, we partnered The Heartside Gleaning Initiative (HGI), which began to make a difference in the Heartside district of Grand Rapids. The initiative was set up to help bring extra produce, which would otherwise go to waste from the local farmers markets to supply food banks, soup kitchens and people in residential areas where fresh produce is not available. With hopes to help the organization our group put together a sample recipe book. The recipe book includes easy and low-maintenance recipes, which uses minimal ingredients that are focused around produce coming from the farmers’ markets. The recipe book was created as a tool to be used to help people learn about preparing produce in a healthy way. Some set backs occurred while compiling this project, it was brought to our attention that the recipients of the produce lacked kitchen equipment, which made recipes more difficult to construct. However, we were determined to help HGI in their efforts to encourage healthy eating in the Heartside community. The project, recipe book, and encouragement for the community have potential for growth in the future.
Foster, Amanda; Cornwall, Alexis; Ergang, Steven; and Armstrong, Dylan, "A Recipe for Healthy Communities" (2014). LIB 322: Wicked Problems of Sustainability. 14.