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Since 1990, Access has acted as the neutral network coordinator of the Pantry Network in Kent County, involved in the facilitation of collaborative food, fund raising events, and the promotion of the best practices in charitable food work.

BUILDING A STRONG FOOD SYSTEM

In the last two years, Access has sought to move into Good Food System work, defined by the Good Food as defined by the Michigan Good Food Charter as food that is fair, affordable, healthy, and green. Access has accomplished the following:

  • Connected pantries to the purchase of farm CSA shares via partnerships with the West Michigan Growers Group, New City Urban Farm, and the Health Department
  • Assisted in the formation of the new Kent County Food Policy Council
  • Facilitated the Nutritional Options for Wellness Program which connects low-income individuals with long term illness to health education and nutritious food
  • Conducted Healthy Food Policy training with over 30 charitable food organizations in Kent County
  • Created and implemented outcome/impact measurements for several charitable food programs
  • Supported the startup of food cooperatives at pantries
  • Began a series of Food and Faith presentations featuring local Good Food System practitioners
  • Built relationships with stakeholders across the food system in Kent County

BUILDING A VIBRANT FOOD SYSTEM

Access connects our community to promote a Good Food System, and healthy food for all by working at the intersection of food security, nutrition, and food justice. Access does this through the following initiatives.

LOCAL FOOD

Connecting with local farms and healthy food resources in order to provide healthy food to pantries, develop pantry community gardens, and promote supporting local food sources, and giving locally.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Offering healing through food options and training, Healthy Food Policy Training and nutrition curriculum. Healthy insurance rebate program for CSA/farm produce.

ORGANIZING AROUND FOOD

Promoting asset-based community development with food through co-op start ups, SNAP/EBT at pantries, community organized efforts and training, and creating connections between job development and food systems.

GOOD FOOD

Helping charitable food organizations transition away from old models of emergency food into the vision of a Good Food System, while aligning with the Good Food Charter, providing training, and changing the measurement of local charitable food from output to outcome/impact.