Our News In Inkster, Wayne, and Westland, Michigan
Food System Listening Sessions
On May 28th, 2020, the NKFM in partnership with Beaumont Health Communities hosted the first Western Wayne Food System Listening Session with three goals. The first goal was to raise food literacy of the general public, which was accomplished by providing a quick overview of the food system, presented by Theresa Tejada, that included local data and pertinent definitions. Additionally, the team wanted to get perspectives on local food issues. The perspectives were gleaned through breakout sessions aimed at asking questions on the following topics: what influences people’s decisions regarding what to buy and where to buy it, what is their overall experience obtaining food, if they are able to get the foods that they need, how COVID-19 has changed their experience with food, and their ideas on what a perfect food system would look like. Lastly, the NKFM team sought to gain interest in food policy council by explaining what a food policy council is and gathering interest from nearly 20 people to participate after the breakout sessions had concluded.
Along with the presentation and listening sessions, the team shared a survey with community members regarding their experiences in the session. A report will be created by Theresa to summarize both the survey results and key findings from the breakout sessions. This report will be shared back to the community and will inform strategies of the food policy council. A meeting evaluation was sent to registrants on May 29, to drive the the planning of future listening sessions, with specific requests including: offering it in the afternoon or early evening, doing more community outreach (especially among REACH team target populations), and engaging new partners.
While the NKFM goals for the Listening Session were accomplished and set the stage for further work, the sessions had other unintended effects. Already, Kelly from Taste the Local Difference has written a proposal to utilize some of her unspent grant funds to do community outreach for future listening sessions. Susan from Western Wayne Community Connections reached out to NKFM for a letter of support for a grant she is working on for a future nutrition education program in Westland, and made a connection to Barb Marcum, Westland Senior Services Director, who is interested in doing some diabetes prevention and education collaboration.