Food for Health

Muskegon Provides (MPFH) Speakers: Sarah Rinsema-Sybenga, Exec Director, Community encompass; Marty Gerencer, Principal, MMC and Project Lead, MPFH; Linda Juarez, Hackley Community Care Center

by RIM Reporter Diane Van Epps

Sarah- MPFH is a program of Community enCompass, Hackley Community Care, Pathways, and Mercy Health as well as several other partners. The program is made up of Doctors, Farmers, Neighborhood Associations in the Core City neighborhoods with people who live here work here and want to be here. A concern in some of these neigborhoods have been empty lots enticing negative activity and filling up with trash.  The area showed a history of neighborhood grocery stores as well as growers and farmers.  At one time there were 20 urban gardens.  McLaughlin Grows Urban Farms key difference is they sell the produce they employee farmers to grow produce and they sell to the farmer’s market, Muskegon Public Schools and Hospitals. A University of Wisconson study showed that Muskegon was ranked at number 80 out of 82 of the unhealthiest county’s. This is the impetus for obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Linda- Hackley Community Care serves individuals with the lowest access to resources.  They provide medical, dental and and community resources to their patients.  These individuals can now benefit from MPFH to help them increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.  The Doctors write a prescription for fruits and vegetables and the patient can take their prescription/tokens to McLaughlin to receive fresh product.


Marty-  Due diligence was performed with 25 collaborators in the community.  One of  14 models being used in Michigan was chosen and Muskegon is ahead of the curve.  The program rolled out in  August 2016 through October 2017 was a success.  There are plans in the works for a full launch in 2018 for up to 75 patients. This is not a “Biggest Loser” fix, but a change of life which also includes social benefits.  Wouldn’t this be something great for all of us?  Community enCompass is looking for a Coordinator. Please check out the Community enCompass site to get involved or learn more information. Also attached in this link is the MPFH Program Implementation Guide

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