Farmers market

MPHI researchers took a look at the state’s vast system of food banks and emergency food resources to determine where interventions are currently located and where food-insecure residents are falling through the cracks. MPHI’s Michigan Food Environment Scan, commissioned by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, identifies several Michigan cities with an increased need for food programs to support local needs.

“I think our resources are plentiful. One of the biggest challenges is how those resources are accessed,” says Michelle Napier-Dunnings, MPHI’s chief communications officer. “We are still trying to figure out what the elements of the pathway are to build that local food system.”

The report identified 465 nonprofits, universities, and government agencies that provide 583 unique food programs across Michigan.
Every county in Michigan has at least one food program. However, MPHI identified seven cities — Bay City, Benton Harbor, Flint, Jackson, Muskegon, Port Huron, and Saginaw — that have limited access to healthy, affordable foods in neighborhoods; a high number of residents with low income; and an increased number of residents receiving SNAP benefits. MPHI also determined that 11 cities – Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Port Huron, and Saginaw – did not have enough emergency food programming to cover local needs. Five cities – Bay City, Flint, Jackson, Port Huron, and Saginaw – made both lists.