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UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative pres.

"Promoting Wellness Through the Charitable Food System"

Marlene Schwartz

Marlene Schwartz Marlene Schwartz
Marlene Schwartz
UPDATE: All remaining Food Literacy for All sessions will take place virtually starting on Tuesday, March 17. Community members will still be able to tune in at 6:30pm here:


The US charitable food system is a network of food banks, food pantries, and meal programs that distributes billions of pounds of food to households experiencing food insecurity. Historically, the primary metric of success within this system was the number of pounds of food distributed, with limited attention to nutritional quality. However, in recognition of the high rates of diet-related illnesses among the people receiving this food, there is a growing movement to measure nutritional quality and promote healthier options. This presentation will describe efforts at the national, state, local, and community levels to measure and encourage the distribution of healthier foods, as well as research strategies to evaluate the impact of these changes. Finally, lessons learned and friendly advice for new researchers interested in this topic will be shared.


Food Literacy for All is a community-academic partnership course started in 2017. Structured as an evening lecture series, Food Literacy for All features different guest speakers each week to address challenges and opportunities of diverse food systems. The course is designed to prioritize engaged scholarship that connects theory and practice. By bringing national and global leaders, we aim to ignite new conversations and deepen existing commitments to building more equitable, health-promoting, and ecologically sustainable food systems.

The course is co-led by Cindy Leung (School of Public Health), Jerry Ann Hebron (Oakland Ave. Farm) and Lilly Fink Shapiro (Sustainable Food Systems Initiative). In partnership with Detroit Food Policy Council and FoodLab Detroit.

See here for more information:

Community members should register for each Food Literacy for All session here:

This course is presented by the UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, with support from the Food Systems Theme in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), the Center for Latin and Caribbean Studies (LACS), the CEW+ Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund, the Residential College, the School of Public Health’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, the Department of English Language and Literature, the Center for Academic Innovation, and the King•Chávez•Parks Visiting Professors Program.

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