Good Food Life: Chris Broadbent
What is your role with The People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo?
CB: I am the Farmers Market Manager at The People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo. I lead the team that runs both the Kalamazoo Farmers Market and the 100-Mile Farmers Market each week. We consider ourselves stewards of experience, place, and space at these markets.
How does The People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo work towards the goals of the Good Food Charter?
CB: A guiding force of all work the Co-op does is around the belief that all people should have access to good food. In addition to that, I see farmers markets as a way to create spaces for small businesses, agricultural or otherwise, to grow and develop. Their growth and development doesn’t have to be contingent on larger retail spaces, and we help provide a retail outlet that allows them to focus on their craft and the passion they have for their products.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
CB: With the market vendors, one of the most inspiring things I see is the energy they have for their ideas, products, and process. From the community, it’s their excitement for markets and for food. It’s the combination of these two things that makes me think that we can and will be able to support the growth of good food in an equitable and sustainable way, that shows and reaps the bounty of Michigan’s agricultural system.
What opportunities do you see for moving towards the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter and where do you see those leading in the next five to ten years?
CB: There are a lot of opportunities out there to meet the demand for healthy and affordable food, and to generate and invest in the systems that are going to support that. As people become more interested in the social aspects of food and using food to stay connected with others, I believe that we will see an increase in food businesses that emerge and grow around this. I’d also see the opportunity for growth in mobile food businesses, those that are combining alternative, sustainable lifestyles with good food – food carts, bike powered businesses, and more.
What is one thing you’ve learned through your experience with working towards the goals of the Good Food Charter that you’d like to share with others?
CB: It’s about race in the food system and food is a tool of racism. However, in my work I have begun to see the changes that are happening in Michigan – that food can also be a tool of justice and of connection with others. This is especially true in a world where we all often live behind screens. Food brings people together and can help start the process towards eliminating larger social issues.