Senior Policy Specialist, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) - Lansing, MI
March 3, 2015
What is your role at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM)?
JA: I am the Senior Policy Specialist at CEDAM, so I handle all of our state and federal policy work. I also coordinate one of our programs, the Michigan Rural Council.
How does CEDAM work towards the goals of the Good Food Charter?
JA: CEDAM is a state-wide nonprofit trade association. We support our diverse membership to create vibrant, sustainable and resilient communities through high quality training, technical assistance, capacity building and policy advocacy. One of the many issues our members work on is access to affordable, fresh, healthy food.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
JA: When CEDAM first started our main focus was on affordable housing. It’s been exciting to see that focus shift over the years to all the aspects that go into making a vibrant community. While affordable housing is an important piece of the puzzle, it’s been great to see our field realize that other issues such as food and transportation access and financial education also play a part in thriving communities around the state.
What opportunities do you see for moving towards the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter and where do you see those leading in the next five to ten years?
JA: I think the work being done around The Michigan Good Food Charter provides a great opportunity for organizations working in all different areas to come together around shared common goals. I think the collaboration and education being done is key to achieving the goals, and I see those leading us to bigger ideas in the future.
What is one thing you’ve learned through your experience with working towards the goals of the Good Food Charter that you’d like to share with others?
JA: The goal we have most focused on is goal four; “80% of Michigan residents (twice the baseline level) will have easy access to affordable, fresh, healthy food, 20% of which will come from Michigan sources”. The main thing I’ve learned is that while that seems like a straightforward goal, the solution is much more complicated. It involves food production, distribution, vending, access and education. There are many moving parts that need to go into this goal, and that’s why collaboration is so important.