DETROIT (WWJ) – How hard is it to eat a healthy diet in Detroit?

Over 6,000 Detroiters took part in a town hall meeting Thursday night, which was moderated by WWJ’s own Vickie Thomas, to talk about their problems with putting fresh fruits and vegetables on the table.

“I’m a senior and I stay in a senior complex and there’s no store in our area to get the fresh fruit and vegetables,” one woman complained.

Of those who attended the telephone town hall, only 30 percent said they knew about the Double Up Food Bucks program, which gives Bridge Card holders more bang for their buck to purchase Michigan grown fruits and veggies.

The program, which is the first of its kind in the entire country, is the brainchild of Oran Hesterman, head of the Fair Food Network.

“I believe that everybody has a fundamental right to healthy, fresh and sustainably grown food. Just like we have the fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water, we have a right to healthy food. It is the basis of a healthy life,” Hesterman said.

Double Up Food Bucks draws on a pool of funds raised from foundations to “match” purchases at participating locations, which expanded last month to include three grocery stores in the city: Honey Bee Market, Metro Foodland, and Mike’s Fresh Market (Gratiot location).

At farmers’ markets, customers can earn up to $20 per market day in Double Up Food Bucks credits by using their Bridge Card to buy any approved foods. Those credits can be used the same day, or be saved for a future purchase.

In grocery stores, customers who spend at least $10 on fruits and vegetables using their Bridge Card will receive a Double Up Food Bucks card worth $10 toward their next purchase of Michigan-grown produce.

Under the program, Hesterman said families have more purchasing power to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and Michigan growers have more sales opportunities for their produce.

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