In its drive to end hunger in the state, the Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan Agent Charitable Fund (ACF) recently granted $10,000 to the Eastern Market Partnership in support of its Detroit Community Markets program — a coalition of neighborhood food access programs that provide opportunities for Detroiters to buy fresh and nutritious food at convenient locations, creating a more food secure metropolitan area.
ACF’s donation was presented at Wayne State University’s Farmers Market on the final day of the season. Including the Eastern Market sponsorship, in 2019, the ACF has provided more than $52,000 in grants and sponsorships to local nonprofits who support the ACF mission.
“The Agent Charitable Fund is so pleased to be able to support the Detroit Community Markets program with our donation today,” says Merrick Maris, ACF president. “As part of our growth in the two short years since our inception, we’ve learned about the challenges some areas of our state experience when it comes to access to fresh and nutritious food. So, to be able to get behind the pop-up and farm markets across Detroit financially was an easy decision for us.”
Detroit Community Markets, of which there are 15, are neighborhood locations where people can buy fresh, affordable, locally produced food. This includes farmers markets, farm stands and food box programs. All accept payment via food assistance programs, such as Bridge Card, Double Up Food Bucks, Senior Market Fresh, WIC Project Fresh, and Fresh Prescription.
The Fresh Prescription program, in its third year, participates with community health centers, hospitals and clinics. Health care providers refer patients with chronic disease or food insecurity, caregivers of young children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women to the Fresh Prescription program. This is the doctor's “prescription” to eat more fruits and vegetables.
The prescription is redeemable for $15 of fresh, local fruits and vegetables each week at a partnering farm stand or farmers market. Patients can fill their prescription six times over the course of the season ($90 total) and also receive nutrition education, cooking demonstrations and social support to make healthy eating changes.
“Eastern Market’s a place where many of Michigan’s farmers come to sell their products, whether it’s at our wholesale markets or retail markets,” says Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Partnership. “We think celebrating our heroes, aka farmers, and trying to strengthen the conditions for their businesses is what we do.
"At the same time, we see the need to get Michiganders access to a healthier diet that’s affordable and easily accessible. Through the generous donation of the Agent Charitable Fund today, we know the connection between farmers and the residents of Detroit will get ever stronger.”