Inside the ANC GardenHouse
Inside the ANC GardenHouse

Written by Lisa Assenmacher, Communications and Training Specialist

All around us are people preparing and planting their gardens for the summer growing season, energized by the sunlight and warmer weather. Farmers markets are starting to advertise their summer hours and soon it will be easy to find fresh and delicious food on any given day and time.

Resolving Local Food Challenges
Despite the seemingly bountiful nature of food opportunities, food deserts are a very real problem in Michigan. Many CEDAM members have programs that help narrow the gap, empower residents and use food-based programs to transform their communities. Through Connect & Share, our monthly lunchtime webinar series, we’ve talked with innovative organizations working to do just that. One example of a successful program is the GardenHouse project, hosted by the Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC) in Lansing. Rita O’Brien described their CSA development, youth programs, adult workshops and other fundraisers that help support the work that they do. On the West side of the state, Niles Main Street Director Lisa Croteau shares their story about the creation of Bensidoun Market, and how their community kitchen and entrepreneur services support the local food system. These and all other past webinar recordings are available on demand in the Connect & Share archive if you would like to hear in more detail how these programs work and benefit their communities.

Our national partner, The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), recently published a blog post about efforts of a group in Youngstown, Ohio in establishing Urban Roots Farms. As described so well in that post, “The impact made by Sophia and her colleagues at YNDC shows that solutions for America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods don’t need to be as complex and intertwined as the problems they intend to solve.” As we see these creative solutions have an effect on our populations, we only become inspired to do more.

What programs does your organization have to create equitable access to safe and healthy food?

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