Growing Hope’s Ypsilanti Mobile Farm Stand returns to Ypsilanti and Superior Township
By Erica Bloom, Program Director, Growing Hope, Ypsilanti, MI
Growing Hope’s Ypsilanti Mobile farm stand returns to Ypsilanti and Superior Township to provide healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables to low-access communities. Piloted in 2015, the farm stand saw over 1,300 visitors and brought in $3,713 worth of healthy food to its customers in these communities in its first year.
The mobile farm stand aims to bring affordable, local produce to areas of our community that have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and act as an outreach arm for Growing Hope’s Ypsilanti farmers markets. According to new data from the Washtenaw Community Health Survey, zip code 48198—where the farm stand is located—has the least amount of vegetable consumption in the county. In addition, this same zip code has one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the county and is considered to be within a food desert, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
“I’m very excited that the mobile farm stand will return to Superior Township this year,” said Brenda L. McKinney, Superior Township’s Treasurer. “I know many of the residents enjoyed stopping at the stand to buy fresh food last summer, and I believe it will make an even bigger impact this year.”
Local non-profit Growing Hope runs the mobile farm stand and sources all produce from area farmers and its own urban farm located at 922 West Michigan Avenue. The farm stand provides local produce to all income levels and, like their Ypsilanti farmers markets, accepts many ways to pay beyond cash and credit card. These include SNAP/EBT, Double Up Food Bucks, WIC, Senior Project Fresh, Market Fresh, and Prescription for Health.
The Ypsilanti mobile farm stand takes place in three weekly locations from June 16 to early October in 2016:
- Thursdays from 11:00am-2:00pm in the courtyard of the Human Service Center, 555 Towner Street, Ypsilanti (where DHHS, WCPH, WIC, and CSTS have offices)
- Thursdays from 4:00pm-7:00pm at the corner of MacArthur and Harris in Superior Township (across from the Superior Township Public Library)
- Fridays from 10:00am-1:00pm at Growing Hope Center, 922 W. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti
The farm stand began as a grant from the state of Michigan’s Building Healthy Communities program and a partnership with Washtenaw County Public Health. In 2016, the farm stand is sponsored by St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, with additional support from Washtenaw County Public Health and Superior Township. Labor and many of the materials used to build the farm stand were contributed by Washtenaw Community College’s Construction Technology program.
“St. Joe’s is proud to support the efforts to provide more fresh produce to areas of our community that have limited means to access healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Elisabeth Vanderpool, Director of Community Health, St. Joesph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston hospitals. “Growing Hope’s mobile farm stand is a great example of hospitals and non-profits working together to find on-the-ground solutions to address food insecurity in Washtenaw County.”
The Ypsilanti mobile farm stand also aims to raise awareness of Growing Hope’s Ypsilanti farmers markets, held Downtown on Tuesdays 3pm-7pm and in Depot Town on Saturdays from 9am-1pm, and make people aware that they can use SNAP and other food assistance programs at those markets.
Growing Hope is dedicated to helping people improve their lives and communities through gardening and increasing access to healthy food.