Meet Up and Eat Up, an Eastern Market program focused on healthy eating and active lifestyle initiatives, just wrapped its three grocery store tour this spring sponsored by the Detroit Lions Foundation, United Way, United Health and Gleaners Community Food Bank.
The three grocery stores, Family Fare, Imperial Fresh Market and Food Town Super Market, hosted elementary and middle school kids at their locations. Several stations were set up for food samples, recipe demonstrations and nutrition presentations to educate children on the importance of healthy eating choices.
It served as an opportunity for Detroit area school students to get to know their local grocery stores better, as well as their hometown favorite Detroit Lions. “Kids were engaged when Detroit Lions Chef, ‘Chef Joe’, shared his experience cooking for the football players,” Green Grocer Project Program Manager Mimi Pledl said. “The local grocers were just as engaged in showing all they have available in terms of healthy, nutritious food options.”
The Detroit Public Schools Office of School Nutrition also assisted in choosing which schools’ students would be participating at which grocery store, making sure it aligned with the school system’s standards of health education.
The Meet Up and Eat Up program started as a pilot in 2014 at a few stores. In 2015 and 2016, three locations each had the opportunity to showcase their grocery stores. Other stores, per Pledl, “are definitely interested in being a part of the program going forward.”
Pledl feels that the Green Grocer is at a great point and events like these highlight stores as community grocery stores. “We are seeing great improvements with our independent Detroit grocers with all the expansions and investments,” she said. “We’re excited for the future of the program as well as Detroit in general.”
CAPTION: Detroit Lions Chef ‘Chef Joe’ discusses his role in providing Detroit Lions athletes healthy eating choices at the Meet Up and Eat Up event.
Green Grocer Project Program Manager