Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) is conducting a feasibility study for creation of an innovative food club for low-income and food-insecure families in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The club would promote access to healthy food in a dignified, customer-choice-centered setting.
PPA is working with Feeding America West Michigan to develop plans for the food club, which would operate much like a grocery store. Families would pay a nominal monthly membership fee and receive points they could use to buy food.
The pricing of foods would create incentives to choose fresh fruits and vegetables over potato chips and other less healthy foods. In addition, the center could be a site for agencies to provide wraparound services that promote health and prevent disease.
“This is a really emerging model of food distribution. We all see it as a great concept” said Dr. Nancy McCrohan, the PPA senior project manager leading the study.
Feeding America West Michigan is one of the state’s seven major food banks, distributing food in 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties. It supports similar food clubs in Grand Rapids and Ludington. The planning for the Benton Harbor center is supported by a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.
PPA’s study will include information gleaned from interviews of community members and leaders as well as focus groups and a town hall meeting. PPA is also engaging partner organizations about services they may offer on site and creating a blueprint for the next phase of implementation.
PPA has extensive experience assessing policies and programs to support equitable access to healthy foods. For more information, contact Dr. McCrohan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-485-4477.