Eating Healthy in Detroit

Eating Healthy in Detroit (previously "The Detroit Food Desert Project") is a health initiative with a simple mission:

Encourage Detroiters to eat more fruits and vegetables by celebrating Detroiters who eat fruits and vegetables. The project is being conducted by Noah Stephens – a Detroit-native, commercial photographer, and founder of
The People of Detroit

“It’s personal,” Stephens said. “I've watched so many family members suffer from debilitating, sometimes deadly diet-related chronic illness. I decided to avoid these illnesses by eating healthfully. By highlighting other Detroiters who make this decision, I hope to inspire others to follow suit.”

To highlight these Detroiters, Stephens will photograph and conduct video interviews with a produce shopper in each of the city’s 115 grocers.
Their stories will appear on this website and in strategic locations all around Detroit. A selection from this body of work will also appear in a Sunday edition of this project’s official media partner, The Detroit Free Press (the Sunday Free Press reaches on average more than 700,000 people). 

Thanks to sponsorship from Detroit-based Strategic Staffing Solutions, Noah was able to photograph eight stores as a proof of concept. Noah is currently fundraising to complete the project.

So far, the project has garnered significant media attention including a segment on Detroit’s local NBC affiliate and an appearance by Stephens on 
Al Jazeera English’s international forum program The Stream. As the most comprehensive, grassroots, multimedia effort to improve diet and health in a post-industrial American city, we expect the completed project to generate even more interest locally, nationally, and  internationally.

More about Eating Healthy in Detroit:

Media Coverage | Proof of Concept | Contact


From the 8-store proof of concept:

Michael in Parkway Foods
[East Jefferson]

"I think some people just look for fast food. Period." 

Parkway Foods, 13210 East Jefferson Avenue Detroit, MI 48215

Apples: $1.99/pound | Bananas: $.59/pound | Oranges: $1.98/pound

Interview excerpts
Concerning the availability of healthy food in Detroit:
"I think some people just look for fast food. Period. [...] Me, myself; I look for fruits and vegetables, even though I'm my size, I still try to eat healthy, and try to do the right thing."

Does the idea of a "food desert" align with your personal experience?
"Never had that problem. It's not a food desert. It's markets everywhere. Some of them, are undesirable; some of them you walk in, and it doesn't smell good. I've experienced a couple [markets like that] and I haven't been back..."
And if enough people do that, eventually, [that market] goes out of business

The Complete Interview

Community Profile for Zip Code 48215
Educational Attainment for persons older than 25-years:
Percent High School Graduate or Higher
Median Household Income
Unemployment Rate for persons age 16 years and older.
People Below Poverty Level
[19 percent lower than national rate of 93.0%]
[60% lower than national Median Household Income of $52,762]
[50 percent higher than the national rate of 9.6%]
[191 percent higher than the national rate of 15.0%]
Source: American Fact Finder courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau:

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