This article is an excerpt from our June 2019 Monthly Newsletter
“By the end of year three year, we will have purchased all of our food from Michigan farms,” shared a member of the HAELFS Collaborative at a recent planning session. HAELFS stands for Health, Access, and Equity in our Local Food System, and is the name of the collaborative project that Access’ Good Food System team heads up along five affordable food market sites.
The HAELFS collaborative has finished it’s second year, and last week spent time planning and dreaming for year three. Since the collaborative has begun, each partner site has opened an affordable food market in their community. Each market creates access for food insecure individuals to acquire nutritious food at a low cost. Produce available at the markets is sourced from local small farms, stimulating the local food economy. Together, we are working to create a culture of health within communities. As culture shifts, community members have begun to take action to influence their own local food system. Each site hosts weekly neighbor led classes with residents who are involved in farm share programs. Classes include everything from cooking, recipe sharing, gardening, trips to local farms, and food justice training.
“Collaboration is a key part of our mission at Access and that carries into our food work. We ALL have a part to play in bettering the local food system for ALL people,” shares Erin Skidmore, Good Food Systems Coordinator, “we know we have work to do as we intentionally move away from the traditional charity model and into more innovative, creative solutions that address root causes of food insecurity.”
The HAELFS collaborative is one example of the Good Food Systems work we do at Access. We are so thankful that community members across Kent County are willing to do this work alongside of us.
HAELFS Food Market Sites: