Good Food Life: Justin Fast
Justin Fast is the Social Initiatives Specialist at the Michigan Fitness Foundation in the city of Lansing, Mich.
What is your role at the Michigan Fitness Foundation?
JF: I oversee, as part of a management team, our strategy to identify and target effective nutrition education programming to underserved, high-risk populations (including low-income, food insecure audiences with limited food access).
How does the Michigan Fitness Foundation work towards the goals of the Good Food Charter?
JF: We believe that empowering Michiganders to fuel the good food economy requires both environmental change to increase good food access and education to increase its consumption. Fewer than 1 in 5 Michiganders (18%) at all income levels consume the minimum daily recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Michiganders need to know what good food is and how to consume it in order for our food system to thrive.
The Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF) funds and equips the 46 organization Michigan Nutrition Network to provide evidence-based SNAP nutrition education and physical activity promotion (SNAP-Ed) to nearly 2 million low income Michiganders at schools, food retailers, farmers markets, emergency food sites and other non-profits statewide. MFF also coordinates statewide social marketing to encourage increased consumption of fruit and vegetables (largely in-season, Mich.-grown produce) and increased physical activity. For more information, please visit: www.michiganfitness.org.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
JF: Empowering underprivileged families to improve their diets and their health in a way that positively impacts our state’s economy is exciting. It’s a win-win.
What is one thing you’ve learned that you’d like to share with others?
JF: Most people are “foodies” at heart – they appreciate good food and value community– but fewer feel they can truly “influence the food system.” If you eat food, you already influence the food system. The Good Food Charter offers you both “next steps” to take and a community with which to take them.