Healthy Food Summit Seeks Solutions for Detroit

A New York nonprofit could offer a blueprint for improving food access.

Detroit has more than 70 full-line grocery stores, yet thousands of people don’t have access to them. Many lack jobs, money, and transportation they need to obtain healthy food. Here’s what the 2017 Detroit Food Metrics Report shows:

Detroit Food Policy Council

More from WDET: Data Show Where Healthy Food Gaps Exist in Detroit


The chart above shows almost half of all Detroit residents face a lack of food security. The American Heart Association says everyone needs good food to live and be healthy. The group is hosting a “solutions summit” on Fri., Mar. 22, 2018 in Detroit. Its keynote speaker is Kolu Zigbi, co-founder of New York’s Commmunity Food Funders. She tells WDET’s Pat Batcheller many people end up paying more money to shop at smaller local markets such as convenience stores. Zigbi says those businesses tend to pay more for grocery shipments, then pass the cost on to customers.

American Heart Association

Zigbi says New York’s corner stores–also known as “bodegas”–get incentives to make healthy food more accessible to customers.

“It helps investment in the cold storage that’s needed to keep fresh produce, as well as helping store owners do things like put the healthy food choices front-and-center,” Zigbi says. “There’s a lot that can be done to improve the selection that’s available.” 

She adds that such incentives are good for local economies because bodegas tend to be owned by local residents.

“They’re people who’ve been in the community for generations, and it’s something that deserves public support,” Zigbi says.

The American Heart Association’s solutions summit takes place from 8:30 a.m until 3 p.m. Mar. 22, 2018 at The Loft at Madison on Broadway in Detroit.

Click on the audio player to hear more of the conversation.



  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.