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Sharvai Thomas
Policy Paper
Instructor Harrison
23 March 2016

Policy Paper

Problem Statement:
Midtown is constantly being built up while poor areas are still suffering. It is unfeasible to expect
a business to locate in an area they cannot predict the profit. Until the government can improve
the public transportation system in the suffering communities, neighborhoods rely on non-profit
organizations and urban farming.
Food distribution and accessibility is becoming a growing issue around the Detroit area and
possibly has a greater impact around the country and even the world. The problem is that people
have limited access to healthy and nutritious food and even less access to the transportation
needed to reach these items. The money being put into the city of Detroit is being spent making
the city more attractive to tourists, rather than providing the people who live here with what they
need. Taking money from necessities and using them for desires isnt turning out as well as it
may have been thought to be.
The problem of food distribution and accessibility is mainly caused by the way city
officials decide to distribute money. The city of Detroit is currently putting money into
remodeling the city onto a place that attracts tourists. The article Reimagining Detroit, explains

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that the political capital and financial resources of the city are being used to create a city that will
function mainly for visitors rather than residents (Peter Eisinger). Business and political leaders
have developed this idea of creating a new city. Eisigner writes that he feels that this idea can
create two problems for this city. One being the fact that there is a lack of resources to even bring
this vision to life. Another is by putting our resources and energy into making these visions a
reality, the result will end up taking away from the needs and interests of the residents.
By building up areas that attract visitors, we are taking away from the areas inhabited by
citizens that are in need of these healthy food choices. Businesses are not attracted to areas where
the people around are struggling. It makes more sense to have a location in an area where people
are more likely to afford their products. This results in businesses moving away from the city
into more suburban areas. To add to the problems, city residents now have to struggle to find
transportation to these areas that distributes healthy food.
This issue is important because a great amount of people are affected by these choices.
Transportation in the city of Detroit is already a huge issue. The city is taking away the
neighborhood grocery and fresh produce stores, forcing people to travel further distances for
fresh healthy food. The only problem with this is the lack of affordable transportation the city has
to get to these relocated stores. Families are now forced to spend their money on unhealthy fast
food, rather than sharing fresh home cooked meals.
Residents surveyed in the city of Detroit say Youve got to go out in the suburbs now to
get decent food. Have you ever noticed how if you take a walk or drive down the main streets of
your neighborhood, the one thing you can find without hesitation is a fast food restaurant (or
several)? Imagine traveling through the city to get to a grocery store in the suburbs just for fresh
produce. By the time you get to that store and get some fresh fruits and vegetables, you are

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going to pass about 30 fast food joints (Hunger and Obesity). Now imagine your family is
without a car and needs dinner for the night. You are now limited to the resources within your
neighborhood, which are the fast food restaurants. Without healthy choices in close proximity,
families are left with no other option than to consume these unhealthy products on a daily basis.
One way this issue can be reduced is to increase the amount of crop productivity within
urban areas. If people work together to maintain neighborhood gardens, they can grow and
harvest their own healthy fruits and vegetables. The widespread of community gardens will
provide many residents without transportation the access to healthy food basically right in their
own backyards. One problem that people may have is the lack of areas with fertile soil suitable
for growing food. With all the pollution around, it is difficult to find areas not contaminated with
toxic chemicals and waste that is not biodegradable.
There have been many efforts to solve or reduce this issue. Several ideas, theories, and
plans have been created and put to action. The article Solutions for a Cultivated Planet
describes several plans and results to restore agriculture around the world. It is written that
While improving crop yields and reducing agricultures environmental impacts
will be instrumental in meeting future needs, it is also important to remember that
more food can be delivered by changing our agricultural and dietary preferences.
Simply put, we can increase food availability (in terms of calories, protein and
critical nutrients) by shifting crop production away from livestock feed, bioenergy
crops and other non-food applications. (Jonathan Foley)
This can be the start of a foundation that will globally improve the accessibility and distribution
of food all around the world.

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Another major problem is the accessibility of food in schools. An article I found stated
that schools in low income areas are closer in distance to fast food than those in higher income
areas. This provides lower income students with more access to unhealthy fast food. The article
states
Compared to schools in lower income neighborhoods, schools in higher income
neighborhoods had fewer fast food restaurants and were further away from fast
food restaurants and convenience stores. Fast food restaurants are more
concentrated in lower income neighborhoods and near schools in lower income
neighborhoods in Boston. Spatial inequities in food access have major policy and
health implications, specifically related to lower income neighborhoods and
schools. The close proximity of fast food restaurants and convenience stores to
lower income schools expose children to unhealthy food options that may
contribute to unhealthy eating and obesity in economically disadvantaged
neighborhoods. (Renee Walker)
This is because business who sell healthy food items are moving out to suburban areas, forcing
students to spend the little money they have on fast food and snacks at the gas station.
One effort Detroit has made to fix the issue is starting the Detroit Fresh
organization. This is basically a way for corner stores to start selling healthy foods on the
eastside of Detroit. Guests expressed frustration and resentment that the corner stores sold
mostly stuff that "folks were addicted to," like alcohol, tobacco, junk food, and lottery, and little
else. Out of these conversations, the Healthy Corner Store idea was born. Started initially as a
pilot project involving three stores within a half-mile radius around the Capuchin Soup Kitchen,
it is now a funded project and will cover all of Detroit.

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This program targets corner stores that accept food stamps. This is a great way for
families to have access to fresh and healthy foods right at their neighborhood convenience store.
Corner stores are a good target for such interventions because residents often
depend on them for food given lack or poverty of transportation options, they
represent retail infrastructure that already exists in such neighborhoods, and
significant amounts of SNAP dollars are spent there. When residents lack access
to fresh and healthy foods, they risk falling prey to chronic illnesses such as
diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. (Detroit Fresh)
Some issues this solution could run into may be the access of healthy foods to send to the
stores. Who are they ordering their merchandise from? If Detroit is already struggling to provide
its urban neighborhoods with proper nutrition, it is safe to assume that access to large amounts of
food may be difficult. It may become difficult to continuously provide these stores with healthy
products. Another issue can be the funds necessary to run this program. It may be easy to
finance while it only 3 stores to supply, but once they reach their goal of spreading across
Detroit, it may be difficult to find the funding for the growing amount of stores. Transportation
may also be an issue. It could be an issue with transporting products from one place to another.
The Detroit Fresh program has taken several steps to avoid or solve any issues they may
have with keeping their organization running smoothly. Stores never have to worry about how
they are going to store their fresh foods. They provide participating stores with baskets, shelves,
and proper techniques for handling produce. To ensure that every store has access to products,
the program connects stores with distributors that deliver them.
As I stated before, this program accepts food stamps and SNAP benefits. Low income
family dont have to struggle with finding money to grocery shop. They can go right to the

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corner store and get healthy food that is covered by their government assistance. Other issues
such as advertisement have also been handled. Staff personally travel throughout the surrounding
neighborhoods to inform people and also collect any suggestions on how they can make the
organization better.
In conclusion, food accessibility has become a problem in the city of Detroit. More
specifically, the accessibility of healthy foods and the lack of transportation to get to them.
Families and individuals in urban areas have more access to fast food and unhealthy junk food
than to healthy choices. One program that is working to solve this issue is Detroit Fresh. Their
program is dedicated to providing the city with healthier foods right in their convenience stores.
Although the program is only at a few locations, soon it will spread all across the Detroit area.

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Bibliography
"Detroit Fresh Home - Detroit Fresh - College of Liberal Arts and Sciences." Detroit
Fresh Home - Detroit Fresh - College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar.
2016.
Eisinger, Peter. "Reimagining Detroit." Onlinelibray.wiley.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr.
2016.
Foley, Jonathan A. "Solutions for a Cultivated Planet." Nature.com. Nature Publishing
Group, 20 Oct. 2011. Web. 03 Feb. 2016.
"Hunger and Obesity." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Walker, Renee. "EZProxy Login." Wayne State University Libraries. N.p., 16 Nov. 2013.
Web. 21 Mar. 2016.