Urban Agriculture

Urban Agriculture

Today's post is authored by Food Disparities Project Group Chair, Dania Baraka.

Most of us come from the typical suburban setting: colonial house, two car garage, the white picket fence, and of course a beautiful, lush green backyard. Backyards do a lot for a family. Come the warmer months, the backyard is the place to be. Pool parties, get-togethers, a pick-up game of soccer are all wonderful activities done in backyards. With this being said however, there is much that can be done outside of the scope of leisure time. Many people use their backyards as a means of growing fresh fruits and vegetables, alongside the occasional hydrangea. It is safe to say that most families with backyards have at one point or another put their gardening skills to the test. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a rewarding and relaxing pastime that many of us take up in the luxuries of our backyards. But what about those who really need the access fresh fruits and vegetables? Can they too, just as easily plant and grow their own food? Not necessarily.

Overpopulation and Food Footprints

Overpopulation and Food Footprints

Today's post is authored by MedEq'a Co-Treasurer, Ziyad Muflahi. 

Seven billion. The amount of humans that exist on this planet and the number continually increases. We may understand the actuality of the number, but are we able to put it into context? What does seven billion dollars look like?  What about seven billion trees?  Seven billion years, cars, acres?  It’s kind of impossible to imagine.  Let’s look at an average sheet of paper.  Its eleven inches long.  Laying seven billion sheets of paper, end to end, would stretch to an outstanding 1,215,278 miles.  That’s long enough to loop the whole Earth, from pole to pole, forty-nine times!  Crazy right?

Who has Access to Healthy Food Options?

Who has Access to Healthy Food Options?

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Co-Treasurer, Sabrina Pakula.

A common correlation we observe today is that poorer areas lack grocery stores that provide healthy, fresh produce to their consumers because of the low family incomes within the area. Due to the lack of promise, conglomerate food retailers deem it not profitable or in the interest of the company to invest in an area and bring dearly needed food to people. They also reason that their clientele will avoid purchasing fresh produce because it is more expensive than less healthier options. For decades now, the availability of fresh produce was specific to areas of color, and policies are just now being introduced to fairly locate food sources. The devastating truth is that this kind of information is either blurred through journals and unaccepted or viewed as a political strategy. As noted, “inequitable access to healthy food is a major contributor to health disparities” and if addressed can solve an assortment of problems such as obesity. 

Importance of Buying Produce Locally

Importance of Buying Produce Locally

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Volunteer Director, Kenia Espino. 

In today’s world of mass production, consumers expect their groceries to be affordable and easily accessible. With this system however, the quality of food products is comprimised and independent local markets are struggling for business. Supporting local food markets is crucial for the local economy and also promotes healthy living. The central benefit of buying locally grown produce and food is that you know where your food comes from. Often times, buying local food may even be more fiscal than buying from supermarkets. Locally grown produce and foods undergo very little processing, are more fresh, and are of higher quality.

Are Food Stamps Exacerbating Food Disparities?

Are Food Stamps Exacerbating Food Disparities?

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Food Disparities Correspondent, Rosie Reilly. 

All of the “grocery” shopping done at fringe food stores plays a major role in the increase of diet related diseases and decrease in the overall life expectancy of people living in Southeast, Michigan. There must to be more steps taken in these areas of Michigan suffering from food disparities to insure constant access to fresh and healthy food.

The Obesity Epidemic and its Effect on Detroit Residents

The Obesity Epidemic and its Effect on Detroit Residents

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Volunteer Coordinator, Dania Baraka.    

We currently live in a country where everything is revolved around time, money, and convenience. The common trend observed appears that the more we progress as a society, we tend to go backwards in a sense. As people spend more time pursuing quality employment and wealth, the quality of the food we consume and the amount of exercise partake in take a backseat in our daily lives. Obesity rates in America has skyrocketed in the past ten years, with the National Institute of Health reporting that more than 2 in every 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese, and more than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese (1).  Although self-explanatory, overweight and obese individuals as defined by the WHO organization are individuals who have abnormal or excessive fat accumulations in their bodies that may impair health, with obesity defining individuals with more severe fat accumulations (2). Adults are classified overweight or obese by their body mass index, which is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters. A BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight, a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obese (2). While the BMI is a useful tool, it is not always accurate or reliable, especially when using it on kids.

Food Deserts: What's the Deal?

Food Deserts: What's the Deal?

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Volunteer Coordinator, Dania Baraka. 

          Food deserts. The first time I heard about this was quite recently. I searched the term up on the internet, and what I found was pretty self-explanatory. Food desserts, as defined by the USDA, are, “... parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers” (1). The inner city of Detroit is facing one of the worst food deserts in the United States. How can one even begin to talk about the rebirth and renaissance of the city of Detroit when the populations of the city have easier access to unhealthy fast foods than fresh fruits and vegetables? How do we expect our great city to ever rise from its’ ashes if the people that live in the area are being robbed of what should be considered a universal human right – access to fresh food and vegetables.

Food Disparities—The Major Contributor to Health Inequities in Southeast Michigan

Food Disparities—The Major Contributor to Health Inequities in Southeast Michigan

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Nutrition Contributor, Rosie Reilly. She is pursuing a major in nutrition here at Wayne State and has an extensive background in food disparities.  

Health problems in America’s low-income communities are, in general, substantially more severe than they are in the rest of the nation. Food disparities leading to poor nutrition in these areas are seen as a major contributor to this outcome. Diet-related health problems in both Detroit and Metro Detroit are worse in areas of food imbalance, even after accounting for differences in income, education, and race. (2) Fast food and fringe food outlets are found on almost every street corner of Detroit, and unfortunately quality grocery stores, where fresh and healthy foods can be purchased, almost cease to exist.

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