Skip to main content

Faculty Stories

Lisa Sisson, Assistant Professor

Lisa Sisson, Assistant Professor

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.

View All Faculty Stories