Imagine trying to get to your local food market store in some areas of Detroit.
“In my shoes, just to see
What it’s like, to be me
I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes
Just to see what it’d be like.” – Eminem
Imagine you have no car. Sporadic work. You have a limited amount of money to feed your kids. It’s below freezing outside. Bus service has been cut, so it takes you hours to get places those with a car can get to in mere minutes. And when you’re gone for those hours, who is going to watch your kids?
When you finally get to the grocery store, your limited budget (data says 41% of Detroiters are on food assistance as of 2011) means the healthy options you may prefer might not be available.
This is the daily reality for many Detroiters. Thousands of children and families who are a few miles from a resurgent downtown and recovering region, but can’t get even get to healthy foods. Issues and cuts with Detroit Department of Transportation mean those healthy options might as well be a hundred miles away.
It’s not hard data, but when I went to a store the other day in my neighborhood, the clerk had to help the man ahead of me because he couldn’t read the word “yes” on the screen. I wish I could say this situation was an isolated occurrence. The problems are real and they aren’t going away unless we face them.
And regardless of the causes, we are here now. Blame is a useless game. We need to focus on what do in the future.
In that spirit, WDET has done a yeoman’s job investigating the food access and security issue in the city through series of programs. Whether it’s looking into stores that accept government-funded SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) that don’t offer food basics, talking about the work arounds real people use, food education or one of the many other facets of this complex food problem, this series is one of the best our local public radio station has produced.
Check out the Soundcloud playlist or visit the Detroit Food Economy
story link and if you really get value from what you hear, consider supporting WDET.
Want to help?
If you’d like to help with food in Detroit, check out Forgotten Harvest that does pop-up farmer’s-style markets in challenged areas, as well as Gleaners Community Food Bank. If you have another suggestion to add, put it in the comments below.