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Heartside Gleaning Initiative wins 5x5 Competition

  • Lisa Sisson, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management, accepts a check for $5,000

Posted on March 24, 2016

Heartside Gleaning Initiative (HGI), that promotes access to healthy food in the Heartside neighborhood, won the GVSU 5x5 Competition and received $5,000. They competed against four other Grand Valley teams March 23 at the Eberhard Center. 

Grand Valley students, faculty and staff who are engaged with community partners were invited to submit ideas to the competition. Voting was open to the public and the top five teams were given the opportunity to present their case. Each team had five minutes to pitch their ideas to five judges.

Lisa Sisson, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management and director of HGI, formed the initiative to help low-income and marginalized populations in the Heartside and surrounding communities of Grand Rapids improve their health through greater access to healthy food.

During the team presentation, Sisson said most residents of the Heartside neighborhood do not have access to healthy food because there are no grocery stores in the community and most residents do not own a car.

Sisson said the prize money will be used to help purchase a cargo van to collect and distribute food to residents in the greater Grand Rapids community and to increase distribution throughout the year. Since 2014, HGI has collected donations from farmers and provided, without charge, more than 37,000 pounds of fresh produce, which amounts to more than 50,000 servings.

The competition was sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Seidman College of Business. 

The five judges for the competition were Jeff Shade from Ernst & Young, LLP; Erik Daly from Barnes & Thornburg LLP; Peter Rahrig from Lake Michigan Credit Union; Maddie Cleghorn, president of Student Senate at Grand Valley; and Mike Czechowskyj from Spectrum Health Innovations.