“We are sisters of this Earth—members of one powerful tribe.”

—Jada Pinkett Smith
“If you can feed yourself, you can free yourself.”

—Dr. Grace Lee Boggs, philosopher and Detroit community organizer
“My daughter talks about what she did and learned at ECO Girls all weekend long. This is a great program!”

—ECO Girl Parent

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Fresh Food Near You

Everyone knows what a desert is, but seldom do people hear the term “food desert.” Food deserts are likened to desert regions due to the difficult search and acquisition of healthy foods for those living in the area. When people living within that area do buy food - it is typically from a gas station or corner store. Several factors determine where food deserts appear. The USDA defines food deserts by measuring the distance to the supermarket or grocery store. Low access has been defined as 33% of the population living at least one mile away from the nearest grocer. Often times, the distance is far greater than a mile, and many of the people are unable to receive transportation to those markets. Another factor, one that is deeply ingrained into what defines a food desert, would be the demographics of the area. Many of these areas have a greater proportion of minorities, up to 65% more minorities in rural food desert tracts compared to non-food desert tracts. This is a slightly more complex demographic than measuring distance to the grocery store. Because cities and systems have been built around race and class, it is more difficult to make changes in a system that has been ingrained into society for hundreds of years. Due to the notion that food deserts do appear in greater numbers in areas with more minorities, this brings up the question of environmental justice. Environmental justice is the fair treatment and involvement of all people regardless of race, color, class with the respect to having a healthy environment to live and learn. With that definition in mind, a healthy environment should include equal access to healthy and nutritious foods despite one’s race, identity or class.

While food deserts are a widespread issue across the nation, one of the most recognizable food deserts is Detroit, MI. With a demographic that fits the profile for most food deserts, it is not difficult to see why so many of their residents have a hard time seeking the right foods. Detroit is one of the largest cities in America and is a predominantly African-American city. Within this city, it has been estimated that 550,000 Detroiters must travel twice as far to reach a mainstream grocer as they would a party store, gas station, or fast food restaurant. In addition to the travel time for grocery stores, many residents of Detroit shop at fringe locations like gas stations and liquor stores because they are the main retailers of food stamps. It is more convenient for these citizens who may rely on public assistance to pick up their food stamps and their meals in one location, especially if the alternatives are twice as far away. Due to this structure, many people that live within Detroit have a greater risk of disease, health expenses and premature death. There are some ‘conventional’ grocery stores in midtown and downtown Detroit, and they are close to many of the homes of Detroit residents, however these grocery stores are expensive and in gentrified neighborhoods for the most part, so they are still inaccessible for the majority of the population.

Detroit is a town that suffers from the lack of healthy foods that are readily available, but that does not mean that this town will stay a food desert. In fact, this town has been working towards a better future for the last fifty years. One of the biggest initiatives in this city surrounds health, food, and nutrition. Because there is not a lot of government investment in food programs and opportunities for this city, many third parties have taken it upon themselves to find solutions for this food desert problem. Many urban farms have sprouted in several different and diverse neighborhoods as places for people to learn how to grow their own food. Several schools have also implemented community gardens and education on what to eat and grow so that these kids can pass that knowledge on to their siblings, parents, and even future generations. Detroit Agriculture Network and Farm-A-Lot are two exemplary organizations that promote these gardens, education, and food security to the city. There are other organizations such as the Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative that focus on the health of the citizens, the schooling of nutrition and exercise, as well as providing health care. Because food, fitness and health are all intertwined, it is great that many of these organizations can provide information in one of these areas. Even just shopping with more local grocers will help reduce the food insecurity issue while also building a stronger economy within the city. While there are too many programs to mention, Detroit is full of people that are making great efforts in narrowing the gap in food imbalance as well as providing the building blocks for a bright and healthy future.

View Fresh Food in Washtenaw County in a larger map


Whole Foods Market
115 Mack Ave,
Detroit, MI 48202 http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com /stores/detroit?s=MDT

Detroit Eastern Market
2934 Russell Street
Detroit, MI 48207

Wayne State Wednesday Farmers Market
5201 Cass Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

Northwest Detroit Farmers' Market
15000 Southfield Freeway, on the northbound service drive
Detroit, MI 48223

Garden Taste Fest and Market Place
19308 Whitcomb
Detroit, MI 48235

Windmill Market
Located on the SW corner of Livernois & the Lodge

8 Mile Farmers' Market
8500 E. 8 Mile Rd.
Detroit, MI 48234

Eastside Farmers Market
14820 Mack Avenue
Detroit, MI 48215

Goodwell's Natural Foods Market
418 W Willis St
Detroit, MI 48201

Kim's Produce
4206 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

Avalon Bakery
422 W. Willis
Detroit, MI 48201


Ypsilanti Depot Town Farmers Market
100 Market Plaza
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers' Market
Ferris and Hamilton Street (between Key Bank Parking Lot & Post Office)
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Harvest Kitchen
32 E Cross St
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Ypsilanti Food Co-op
312 N. River St.
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Wiard's Orchard
5565 Merritt Rd.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Farmers Market
315 Detroit Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Westside Farmers' Market Ann Arbor
2501 Jackson Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

People's Food Co-op
216 N. Fourth Av.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Whole Foods Market
3135 Washtenaw Ave
Ann Arbor, Michigan


990 W. Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Trader Joe’s
2398 East Stadium Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Plum Market
375 North Maple Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Arbor Farms Market
2103 West Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

The Produce Station
1629 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104