This post is part of a series of interviews of recipient agencies for the Access of West Michigan 2021 Walk for Good Food. This year, we have 13 in total, each with their own role in creating a thriving Good Food system in West Michigan. Read below to see why Good Food is important to their work, and check out our website at accessofwestmichigan.org/walk to learn more or to walk with us!
AWM: how would you describe your organization — what is your mission and what work do you do towards that mission?
SECOM: SECOM is a trusted community resource that has been serving Neighbors in our unique part of Grand Rapids for 50 years. Our mission at SECOM is to give help and hope to our neighbors by empowering families to achieve their full potential through healthy living, education and economic opportunities. Our Vision is “helping today, building hope for tomorrow.” Our Healthy Food Pantry, The Market at SECOM and overall Culture of Health programming, including our Community Garden, offer tools and resources that provide our Neighbors with increased access to fair, healthy, green and affordable foods, education regarding food sourcing and equity, and the chance to have hands on experience in the life of an annual garden. Combined, these opportunities hit on all aspects of our Mission as we seek to best serve and support our Neighbors in need.
AWM: why is Good Food important to your organization?
SECOM: We recognize that our current food system is broken and we need to implement practices that provide everyone access to healthy, fair, local and affordable food. It takes time, effort and voices, but Good Food is something that is important to us here at SECOM and we will continue to prioritize this for the betterment of our community.
AWM: what would you like to see come out of this year’s Walk for Good Food?
SECOM: Increased awareness of the Good Food Systems work happening in Kent County, funding for great projects throughout the County, and the knowledge every resident can, in some way, impact this work individually, through their church or business, or through volunteerism.
AWM: Does your organization have a favorite food memory?
SECOM: In 2015, SECOM created and implemented a Healthy Food Policy for our Food Pantry. This policy emphasized the importance of healthy and fresh food and stated our efforts to prioritize this. This was a huge step in SECOM’s Good Food journey. Looking back it’s definitely one of my favorite memories because it was a starting point for change and we have grown so much since then.