Market’s move from suburb revitalizes old building, downtown, and public health

Access to clean water hasn’t been the only health issue facing Flint, Michigan.

Since 2008, Michigan State University public health expert, Rick Sadler, has been mapping out areas of the city that have had almost no access to healthier food options and evaluating solutions that could help remedy the problem.

The Flint native’s most recent study, published in the journal Applied Geography, has found that simply changing the location of a farmers’ market to downtown Flint has brought cascading positive effects to residents of the area.

The market has not only been good for the local economy, but for reaching people with challenges in accessing healthier food,” said Sadler, who is also an assistant professor in the College of Human Medicine. “That’s important because farmers’ markets are often perceived as being elitist, only benefiting a certain class of folks. Our local market has proven differently and represents a good cross section of the community.”

Sadler’s research has shown that since its move in 2013, more customers have been coming to the market from neighborhoods representing the two highest classifications of socioeconomic distress.

In 2015, 37 percent of residents from these areas frequented the market compared to 31 percent in 2011 when it was located outside of the city.

Locating the market near a bus station has helped too. Results related to how people got there showed that 21 percent of residents took the bus, walked or biked, compared to only 4 percent in 2011.

See full article & photo credit.

See Flint Farmers Market website & photo credit.

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