Gleaners Community Food Bank’s Fresh Food Share program, supported by the Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative, delivers boxes of fresh produce at an affordable price to community sites for families living in low-income neighborhoods where healthy, unprocessed food is not easy to come by.
The program supplies low-cost boxes (“shares”) of fresh food to around 250 households each month.
Fresh Food Share members pre-order a box of produce at their local community sites and later pick it up. The fresh food is bought at wholesale prices from local farmers, including Detroit farmers. The boxes are available for monthly pickup at multiple neighborhood locations around the city; during any given month, Fresh Food Share delivers to approximately 24 sites. There are currently 36 sites, but not every site orders monthly, particularly schools who may be closed during the summer and holiday months.
Fresh Food Share is a community food program that provides an easy, affordable way for Detroit residents to get fresh food, increase their nutritional knowledge, and support local farmers. It also strives to achieve a measure of financial sustainability in its design: the cost of the shares cycles back in to support the logistics of running the program.
Another perk, Fresh Food Share gives Double Up Food Bucks tokens when customers use their SNAP dollars to purchase their shares, and customers can use the tokens to pay for the part of their box that is Michigan grown. This comprises almost all of the box during the growing season.
American Indian Health and Family Services, Carver S.T.E.M. Academy, Woodbridge Community Youth Center, and Piquette Square are among the distribution sites.
American Indian Health and Family Services operates a free medical clinic for those without insurance and has a variety of health education and referral programs in southwest Detroit; offering Fresh Food Share to the people it serves is fitting.
“We place an emphasis on healthy eating in all our programs and have a lot of clients who don’t have access to fresh produce, either because they are living in areas that are food deserts, or they don’t have good transportation,” says Nina Eusani, maternal and child nurse at AIHFS.
“Having fresh produce available at wholesale prices is great for many of our clients who are low-income and need access to affordable produce.”
AIHFS and other site partners appreciate Fresh Food Share because it helps their clients while not requiring a big investment of time.
“It’s a great opportunity for community members, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of work on our end,” says Nina. “It’s so great to have someone create that infrastructure so that we don’t have to.”
For more information about Fresh Food Share click here.