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Sunday, May 28, 2017

The McLaughlin Urban Farm in Muskegon - A Prescription for Better Health

It's a tough thing to do.  We could all generally eat better, but the reality of it is that the cheap easy stuff is much easier to get.  We also face a dilemma in two of our municipalities here in the fact that there is no grocery store in Muskegon of Muskegon Heights.  Our area is small enough that we can generally can get to them, but on a global scale...they are considered food deserts.




Like many other things in Muskegon, worry not because there is always someone there to roll up their sleeves and get to fixing things.  Community enCompass is working in partnership with Mercy Health, Hackley Community Care and the USDA Community Foods Planning Project called Muskegon Prescribes Food for Health.  It's an exciting endeavor and it's making use of land in Muskegon that's otherwise just sitting there vacant.
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The idea is this.  People in Muskegon who could use a little better diet will be given a prescription from their doctor.  From there, they will be referred to the Pathways CHW Program and not only will they be part of 12 week nutrition courses through the MSU Extention Cooking Matters program, they will be given incentives for attending like vouchers for food from McGrows Farm providing 12 weeks of nutritious, healthy food.

Like any farming project, it's going to take a couple months to go in to full effect, after all, when you are shooting for a growth season that will yield up to 6000 pounds of food, some planting and growth time is needed.  These things don't just appear magically...we're really growing our own produce right along Laketon in front of the Mercy Health Hackley Campus and a few other areas in the city as well.  I met up with Sarah Rinsema-Sybenga of Community enCompass and Marty Gerencer who's the Project lead for Muskegon Prescribes Food for Health at their green house at the McLaughlin Grows urban farm site.  Yes, it was a little on the warm side in a green house, but..there were fresh ripe strawberries right under my feet....it was hard to not pick and eat them, but I managed!  Take a listen to our chat below.



You'll have your chance to support the work, McGrows will be at the Muskegon Farmers Market this fall.  You'll also have a chance to watch these urban farms flourish and if by chance you're driving past the Hackley Campus of Mercy Health on Laketon and see a group of people weeding, watering, harvesting or plowing...know that they are there working toward a healthier life for Muskegon residents through what they eat...grown right here in our town.  Click on the image below to follow McLaughlin Grows on Facebook.  Watch it all happen right before your eyes!



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