‘Growing from the Heart’ grassroots initiative provides people with access to grow and receive fresh foods

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Courtesy: KBIC Natural Resources Department

BARAGA, HOUGHTON AND KEWEENAW COUNTIES, Mich. (WJMN) – A grassroots initiative in the Copper County is working to increase access to fresh, local food this summer. It’s called Growing from the Heart and it’s through the Western U.P. Food System Collaborative. Individual gardeners, groups, and organizations may sign up to be partners in this collective effort by growing food, making land available for food growing, or being a site for food redistribution.

“Our group has been talking about the importance of food justice and how to support food sovereignty in our region,” said Angie Carter, Volunteer, Western U.P. Food System Collaborative. “So thinking about how we can make sure everybody has healthy food, understands that food is a right, not a privilege.”

When news started spreading about the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers say they wanted to help people have free access to fresh foods which benefit our immune systems.

“A lot of us are gardeners ourselves or want to learn more about gardening so that’s one way we could support our community in this hard time,” said Carter.

Here’s how you can be part of the initiative:

The participation form lets you show what ways you can be of service like growing food, having land available for others to use for planting, transportation of food or storage.

The giving form lets you record what you were able to give, how much, and what site it was dropped off at.

Redistribution sites are located in Calumet, Houghton, Hancock, and L’Anse.

“A lot of people do this informally already,” said Carter. “Just sharing extra from their garden but we thought if we did it in a more strategic way then we could make sure we’re better at giving away those fresh fruits and vegetable to the people who need them the most.”

With this being the first summer of the program, the Western UP Food Systems Collaborative hopes to continue this for the future and expand to other parts of the U.P.

For more information on the effort, click here.

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