The Heartside Gleaning Initiative was formed to help
low income and homeless people in the Heartside community improve
their health. The Heartside neighborhood, located in downtown Grand
Rapids, Michigan, has an unemployment rate of 22.5% with over 45% of
the population living below the poverty line. High poverty levels and
low access to quality, healthy food has led to the Heartside community
being labeled as a “food desert”, where residents lack access to
fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Because of the high poverty level
and low access to food, many residents of the Heartside community rely
on soup kitchens and food pantries for their daily food intake, where
much of the food provided is low in nutrients and high in calories.
The Heartside Gleaning Initiative is working to change this by
supplying fresh healthy produce collected (gleaned) from farmer’s
donations at area farmers’ markets, to soup kitchens, food pantries,
and low-income individuals enabling them to provide healthy options
for meals. In addition the Initiative provides education about healthy
food and food preparation to neighborhood residents. In their first
year of operation they have gleaned and redistributed over 16,000
pounds of fresh produce that would otherwise have gone to waste.
To learn more about the Heartside Gleaning Initiative, click here, or visit them on Facebook.
Professor Sisson was featured on WZZM 13 Take Five & Company and in the Grand Valley Lanthorn, click hereto read the article.