Category: Community Written by Minehaha Forman
In a city where liquor stores often double as grocery stores, fresh, affordable produce is often hard to come by for Detroit residents. This is especially true for low-income households that receive food assistance and have to stretch a set monthly food allowance.
But there’s good news for Detroiters on food assistance looking to eat healthier and still save money. The Fair Food Network, a nonprofit organization founded on the belief that everyone should have access to fresh, sustainably grown food, is working to boost healthy eating patterns though fresh food incentives.
The Fair Food Network’s Double Up food Bucks (DUFB) program offers a large inventive to get people to buy local, fresh produce and make healthier, affordable choices for their families.
Any person on the State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can double their food tokens at most Michigan farmers markets including Eastern Market at no extra charge to their bridge card. The DUFB program allows SNAP shoppers who spend $20 at farmers markets to get up to $20 extra in market tokens that can only be spent on fresh, Michigan grown produce.
DUFB works not only to provide low-income families with fresh fruits and vegetables, but it also is an incentive that greatly benefits Michigan farmers and the economy.
The offer is a win-win situation according to Rachel Chadderdon Bair, director of the DUFB program. “We have lots of great feedback from customers. People are very excited about the program,” she said. “There’s been a huge increase in food assistance customers at market.”
It’s not just the customers that benefit from doubling their food dollars at farmer’s markets, she said, but local farmers earn more as well.
“It absolutely affects the economy. Every Double Up Food Buck is an extra dollar going to a Michigan famer. The farmers are very positive and excited about the program,” Chadderdon Bair said.
Since it began as a Detroit pilot program in 2009, DUFB, which is funded through a collection of private companies and organizations, has seen rapid growth. In the first two years the program distributed more than $700,000 additional dollars to SNAP recipients who shop at farmers markets and buy Michigan produce. That’s not counting 2012 numbers.
“Since the beginning, over $3 million in food assistance and Double Up food comps have been spent with local growers and food producers,” Chadderdon Bair said, adding that a formal economic analysis is in the works.
The DUFB program started in Detroit and has expanded to serve more than 75 market sites throughout the state. DUFB is the only statewide food assistance incentive program in the county.
How does it work? When a SNAP recipient gets tokens from their Bridge Card at a participating farmer’s market, those tokens are matched—no strings—for up to $20 dollars. That way a $20 grocery shopping trip to the market turns into a $40 one without having to spend any extra money from your Bridge Card.
But DUFB isn’t the only program provided through the Fair Food Network. In fact, the nonprofit’s mission to work with local groups to remedy problems within the local food system is served through many different approaches.
One Fair Food Network program, Strengthening Detroit Voices, serves as a connector between resources the organization provides and active groups within the city.
“We want to make sure that local legislators, churches and community groups are aware of our programs,” said Terrance Hicks, project manager of the Strengthening Detroit Voices and Detroit Grocery Incubator programs. “We want to cast a wider net so a larger section of the community has the opportunity to work with the Fair Food Network as a resource.”
The Grocery Store Incubator is a Fair Food Network pilot program that Hicks also works closely with. The three-phase program lasts 12 weeks during which fellows who participate get specialized training on how to run a successful city grocery store catering to the unique demands of an urban landscape. The idea is that with more training and expertise among food-related entrepreneurs, Detroit can escape its reputation as a food desert and offer more affordable, healthy food not provided at liquor stores.
“This is a pilot,” Hicks said. “Right now the fellows who graduated are working on a food industry niche in Detroit that is not necessarily grocery a store.”
Another program the Fair Food Network plans to test out is an extension of DUFB into existing local grocery stores in addition to farmer’s markets. Next June, the Double Up Food Bucks incentive will be available at three Detroit grocery stores. The stores have not been announced yet, but one will be on the East side of Detroit, one in Southwest and one in the Northwest portion of the city.
The Fair Food Network was born after the Fair Food Foundation, a non-profit arm of Bernie Madoff’s investment management firm, lost funding due to legal troubles with its parenting company.
Six months later, Oran Hesterman, who served as the Fair Food Foundation’s President and CEO, resurrected the organization into a national, independent nonprofit and called it the Fair Food Network.
One thing Fair Food Network Program Director Meredith Freeman wants people to know is that it’s a collaborative effort that has made the organization successful in its mission to provide access healthy food.
“It’s worthy to know that there are so many players in Detroit that are collaborating and actually making some headway,” Freeman said. “We know each other, we trust each other and we really support each others talents and efforts. That’s really important.”
Freeman noted that the Fair Food Network works with in close partnership with many projects in the city including The Greening of Detroit, The Detroit Black Food Security Network, Gleaners Food Bank, The Eastern Market Association, Detroit Public Schools and many more.
While the notion that Detroit is considered a food desert is controversial, Freeman said there’s a reason Detroiters flock to major food chains in the suburbs.
“It’s not just the number of grocery stores but what kind of grocery shopping and how people feel inside the stores,” Freeman said.
The number of grocery stores in the city is not a fair measure of Detroit’s food access according to Freeman. It’s the quality of the food sold and the retail experience that counts. “Are the grocery stores clean? Do they offer variety? Is there a welcoming feel?” These are the questions that were asked in a recent Detroit grocery store survey, she said.
“There may be 80 independent grocery stores in Detroit but there are not 80 stores that people want to shop at,” Freeman said. “We have a food retail leakage. Millions of dollars leave the city [to find] fresh, affordable food.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 10:49
Category: Community Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Joe Smith is a recognizable name to most in the music industry and although being gifted and well know musically, Smith remains a humble servant to his calling. Smith began playing piano at a young age from a hand-down piano that his sister lost interest in. “I remember when I was little always banging on the piano, so I asked my mom to start me in piano lessons” Smith continued. “Some kids are into Sports, I was into piano and as I practiced, people around me continued to encourage me, it just stuck with me”.
Smith will admit that music may have been apart of his DNA already. “Even when I was little, I would sit with my little record player and listen to the Jackson 5 records and read the back of the album cover with all the credits. I didn’t know what a producer or a songwriter was, but I was intrigued by it,” said Smith.
The same intrigue has progressed Smith’s career as a music director and music producer working with major artist as Dorinda Clark Cole, Kiki Sheard, J Moss, Fred Hammond and the soundtrack to ‘Deep Blue Sea’ the movie, just to name a few.
A musician by trade, but an entrepreneur by heart. “I’ve always been interested in how things become. How and why business start.” Smith continued. “ I am passionate about so many things, like my jean line. Gray Jean, a premium jean line for curvy and tall women. It is a tribute to my birth mom that passed. A way for me to pay homage to her, that regardless of whatever mistakes she made in life, she got me here.” said Smith.
This Saturday, November 3, 2012, Joe Smith and his entertainment company Soul Food Entertainment, will make another passionate dream come true, with the debut of his dramatic stage play Diamond Girls.
“Diamond Girls was inspired by a lot of different things. First, my birth mother was killed when I was six years old. She was 23 years old and was into dating street guys, she got caught up in a situation and it cost her life” Smith continued. “As I got older and started dating, I heard all these stories that some girls would tell, about things that they had experience dating street guys, and I started to hear a commonality in the stories.“
Smith has a gift to tell these stories and a passion to make them heard. “When you hear about street stories either in plays or in movie, it’s from the guys perspective. Scarface, New Jack City and stories like the Mack are about the guys. You never really get in-depth of stories of the women that are with this guys, from their point of view.” Now you can.
For more information on, ‘Diamond Girls’ The Stage Play, please visit www.diamondgirls.eventbrite.com or call (313) 433-3900.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 October 2012 08:36
Category: Community Written by Marie Osborne, wwj
(Working in the Team 313 garden. credit: myteam313.com)
DETROIT (WWJ) – Rain or shine, a tenacious group of volunteers has mowed the grass on nearly 100 abandoned properties on Detroit’s east side since May.
On Friday, Team 313 wraps up this year’s “Block by Block” mowing program.
Founder Felicia Andrews said residents have joined in on the projects as volunteers moved around the city.
She told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Marie Osborne that, when they started, they had no idea the mowing would continue for 26 weeks. ”But with each week we could just see more hope, more progress, more beauty and we just couldn’t stop.”
Andrews said the group wanted to do something that would improve the neighborhoods, so they concentrated their efforts on an area near I-94 and Chalmers.
Andrews said residents are now helping the volunteers to clean up their own streets.
“We hope it has restored their sense of normalcy, if you will,” said.”We hope that … it shows them how they’re supposed to live, and we hope that this is something that becomes an expectation for them and something that they will work to maintain.”
Last Updated on Friday, 26 October 2012 14:46
Category: Community Written by WWJ
Photo Credit: (WWJ Photo/Florence Walton)
DETROIT (WWJ) - Hundreds of voters are taking advantage of the state of Michigan’s lenient absentee voting policy.
Most people talking to WWJ Newsradio 950′s Florence Walton said they were just looking to avoid long lines on Election Day, Nov. 6.
Detroiter Alice Thompson said she votes by absentee ballot every election. WWJ caught up with her dropping off her ballot at the Detroit Department of Elections, where there was a flurry of activity.
“I’m very surprised and happy (to see it so busy) … I saw it this active four years ago when I dropped mine off,” Thompson said, who shared her reason for voting early.
“I wanted to be able to assist my neighbors in getting to the polls on Election Day, so I wanted to get my vote out early to help my neighbors get our early on the day of elections,” he said.
Grayton Little will be working at the polls on Nov. 6, so the option to vote ahead of time worked for him. “So it’s a lot easier and more convenient for me to vote early and make sure my vote counts,” said Little. “It took me about 45 minutes. There were a lot of proposals to read. I didn’t realize there were that many on the ballot.”
Registered voters in Detroit can vote Monday through Saturday at the Detroit Department Of Elections on West Grand Blvd. and at the Wayne County Community College western and eastern campuses.
Absentee ballots in Michigan are not counted until the polls close on election night.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 October 2012 16:07
Category: Community Written by Amber Boggins
Weekend 10: October 26-28
1. 10/26 2 Days in New York Don’t miss the opportunity to see 2 Days in New York playing at the State Theater from Friday, October 26th-Thursday, November 1st, 2012. The comedy starring Chris Rock and Julie Delpy will be playing at 4:45 and 8:45 but at 6:45 on Tuesday and Thursday. Tickets range from $7-$10. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.michtheater.org.
2. Zoo Boo October 26-28 @6pm Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak The Detroit Zoo hosts this annual event, which lets little ones trick-or-treat along a half-mile trail – with dressed characters handing out goodies. $7/ages 2-plus (advance), $10/at gate The Detroit Zoo 8450 W. 10 Mile Road Royal Oak, MI
3. 10/26-28 Hallowe’en Halloween Event at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Step into a world of witches, goblins and headless horsemen in this old-fashioned event. Times are as follows: Friday-Saturday: 6:30 a.m. -9 p.m. Sunday: 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Note: Tours leave every half hour. COST: Free with admission: $15/ages 5-plus, free/under 2, $5/parking LOCATION: Greenfield Village 20900 Oakwood Blvd. Dearborn, MI Call 313-982-6001 or go online to http://www.thehenryford.org
4. 10/26-28 Welcome to the Colored Section at the Liberal Arts Gallery in Detroit Oct 26, 2012 to Nov 16, 2012 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm Welcome To The Colored Section is a look at how these artists express their heritage, history, spirituality, relationships and even existence through their creativity. The show presents the works of some of Detroit best up and coming, unknown and self taught artists, poets and craftsmen. Cost: Free LOCATION: Liberal Arts Gallery 3361 E. Gratiot Ave. Detroit, MI SPONSOR: Liberal Arts Gallery, Poor Man's Art Collective PHONE 313-671-7983 CONTACT NAME: Geno Harris
5. Deadly Intentions Haunted House in Warren Sep 21, 2012 to Oct 31, 2012 8:00 pm This event occurs weekly on Sunday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Deadly Intentions (formerly Deadland) Haunted House is back for one last season. Prepare to be scared by this multi-level attraction. COST: $15/adults, $8/kids 48 inches or under LOCATION: County Line Antique Flea Market 20900 Dequindre Road Warren, MI Call 248-376-3459 or go online to http://www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com for more information
6. 10/26 Pistons vs. Hawks @ 7:30 pm Palace of Auburn Hills Price: go online to www.palacenet.com for ticket information Doors open at 5:30 PM
7. 10/27 Extreme Monster Truck Nationals @ 7pm http://www.extrememonstertrucknational.com The Palace of Auburn Hills Price: $40 VIP, $25 reserved and $15 general admission Doors open at 5:30 PM More Info: Special Family Four-Packs at $120 VIP and $80 reserved are also available. VIP seating includes preferred seating, a pre-show VIP party to see the trucks, meet drivers, get autographs and take photos. Special group discounts are also available. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to take a ride on a real monster truck before, during intermission and after the show.
8. 10/26-28 Mary Poppins at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit EVENT DATE/TIME Oct 23, 2012 to Oct 28, 2012 DESCRIPTION A stage performance with everybody's favorite nanny. No children under age 5. Show times are as follows: Tuesday-Friday: 7:30 p.m. Saturday: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday: 1 and 6:30 p.m. COST: $40-$95 LOCATION Fisher Theatre 3011 W. Grand Blvd. Detroit, MI 313-872-1000 http://www.broadwayindetroit.com
9. 10/27 Legends of Rap return @ 7:30 pm Legendary rappers Rakim, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane come to the Masonic Temple on Saturday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Eric B and Rakim’s album Paid in Full. Log on to www.themasonic.com for more information.
10. 10/27 World Series Returns to Detroit @8pm The Tigers face the Giants for their first home game of the World Series. Go online to Detroit.tigers.mlb.com for an attempt to purchase tickets or check out the local bars for World Series watch parties.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 October 2012 10:39
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