Healthy Town Detroit THE MOVIE
Showing Market-Salamander
Middleburg Virginia
June 22,2011

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Healthy Town Detroit THE MOVIE
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Holli Thompson: So Lisa, I’ve read somewhere, is it possible that there could be 5,000 homeless kids in the city, in Detroit, is that possible?

Lisa Richter: I believe it could be possible. I haven’t heard that fact before but I have heard that, you know, there is some 40,000 people without vacant(ph) water, that there is some 30% unemployment rate, you know, in this city. So I think that that’s probably very possible.

Holli Thompson: That’s just unbelievable to me. And there are—how many people are in the entire city? Isn’t it 800,000?

Lisa Richter: Around 800,000.

Holli Thompson: That’s unbelievable.

[Music Playing 0:02:48 – 0:02:54]

Holli Thompson: Here we are in the middle of Detroit, Michigan, inner city and we’re in the huge beautiful garden.

Lisa, this is amazing. What you’re doing is incredible. Can you tell us a little bit about the vegetables you’re growing and what’s coming up now?

Lisa Richter: Yeah, so right now, it’s falls. So we’ve got falls things growing. So we’ve got spinach, and hardy herbs like parsley and things. We’ve got broccoli, (00:3:22) it’s great time for salad greens and things. And this is our largest garden site here, so it’s about three quarters of an acre and this is where most of our production comes from.

Holli Thompson: Right.

Lisa Richter: Yup. So we grow about 6000 pounds of certified organic produce(ph), most of which goes into meals, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

[Music Playing 0:03:41 – 0:03:49]

It’s possible to grow food even this northern climate, and to harvest food year-round. So it’s possible without needing to burn any fossil fuels to grow foods, like greens and carrots and then you can store things, like your potatoes and squashes all winter long.

One of the things that we are trying to do is make that food available for folks. So some of it will go right into meals, the kitchen, and then today, for example, we have a market that’s available to anybody in the community to come and to purchase it at reasonable prices.

Holli Thompson: Look at these gorgeous red carrots.

Lisa Richter: Yeah, I love biting in these ones because you can see how, it’s the purple there and then see you how beautiful orange.

Holli Thompson: Gorgeous.

Lisa Richter: You know, it’s just delicious.

Holli Thompson: Yeah, they’re so good. What is the temperature in here? It feels coasty(ph) warm.

Lisa Richter: Yeah, it’s amazing. I mean even on a winter day, because this is the green house effect. We’re just more talking about what’s global climate change and we’re using it to our benefit here in the structure so that—you know, temperature in here is probably over 75, I would think right now. It’s beautiful, I’m almost sweating right now.

[Music Playing 0:04:51 – 0:04:57]

Holli Thompson: Well, I love you little store that you have set up. Can you tell a little bit about your products and how they are made?


Lisa Richter: We grow all the berries that we use in the jam and that a lot of times, people don’t know that. They’re like, “Oh, this is so great, your jam. Where did the berries come from?” I’m like, “We grow them all.” And it feels so awesome because they’re processed here at the kitchen. So the sugar that we use is not local, we haven’t been able to find a local organic supplier of sugar, but all of the berries are and we try to use—you know, always use organic sugar and try (00:05:29) fair trade when we are able.

It was started in roughly 1997 by one of the Capuchin friars, Brother Rick Samyn. And he was the client advocate, so he would meet like the folks to soup kitchen who needed more services than just the meal, and he also then works with some of the volunteers in the kitchen and saw a great disconnect between the folks that were actually coming to volunteer and to serve and from the actually food, and felt like there wasn’t this real honoring and knowledge and appreciation of food as something beyond just simply something to shove their mouth go on with their day. That there was something that was actually are life and are being, it was also a spiritual practice that we take in everyday when we eat. And so, he started a small garden that was going to be a sort of an employee type volunteer garden, and the program has shifted and changed and moved over the years.

[Music Playing 0:06:22 – 0:06:38]

Male: Health is a main issue in this country.

Holli Thompson: Exactly.

Male: And the fast food, this country is not a (00:06:43) the point where it is almost beyond, I mean it’s like beyond hills(ph). So I mean—so we had to start somewhere.

[Music Playing 0:06:51 – 0:07:02]

(00:07:02), you know, because they needed more than anything.

Holli Thompson: Right.

Male: (00:07:07) wheelchairs, walkers, this (00:07:08) when we come around, it’s like, “Wow, here they come,” you know, because a lot of them, they don’t have opportunities to get around.

[Music Playing 0:07:18 – 0:08:04]

David Fukuzawa: We decided that in the health area, that we weren’t going to focus on support for medical services per se, but we are going to look at these social and environmental factors.

So what are these various environmental factors, especially, when you look at disadvantaged communities? Where you live, really, in many ways determines how healthy you’re going to be. About half the population don’t have easy access to grocery store. They cannot walk within a mile of their homes or get in a car and get easily to a grocery store.

When we showed kids a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables and the kids wanted to know which party(ph) store they got it from, because they didn’t know that they could get to a grocery store.

Holli Thompson: But they knew party stores.

[Music Playing 0:09:01 – 0:09:09]

Interviewee: Obviously, we could go into places like that. The food that you are going to get is not particularly healthy.

One of our branch is to an organization which is brand new called the Fair Food Network. Places where you can’t really get fresh food and trying to create opportunities in the city where people can get fresh food, whether it’s a farmer’s market or urban gardening or even changing the way that agriculture in the region gets food to the market.

[Music Playing 0:09:50 – 0:10:53]


Holli Thompson: All right, just tell me about shape Down.

Mary Mueller: Okay.

Holli Thompson: I love this idea.

Mary Mueller: Yeah. Shape Down is a program. Again, it’s geared towards young people and their parents, and again, it’s a weight management kind of approach, but there’s an emphasis not only on healthy eating and good food choices but also on exercise.

With children, a lot of times, you’re not putting them on a diet. You want them to have healthy choices, healthy eating habits and then—

Holli Thompson: Get moving.

Mary Mueller: Get moving.

Holli Thompson: Get out and play.

Mary Mueller: Don’t sit in front their TV or that (00:11:29) or whatever, and do some good exercise.

[Music Playing 0:11:32 – 0:11:38]

It’s part of a national program (00:11:40) and we’re bringing it to children. We get involved with social worker, a physician, a dietician and focus to do exercise. I think therapist.

Holli Thompson: There’s been such a huge increase in our country also, in asthma, and I know it’s a serious problem facing a lot of kids today. Do you deal with a lot of asthma patients in your outreach?

Mary Mueller: Very much so. We have a really large population of children in this city and in this area that suffer from asthma, which can be a life threatening illness. And any urban area, I think (00:12:20) like any other urban area in terms of high levels of pollution and children who are at risk.

So we see a lot of kids with asthma. We have very active asthma service here in the hospital. We have a specialized clinic, where we try to see the children who are most high risk and use a multidisciplinary approach, social work, dietary, physicians, nurses. Again, our emphasis is on giving them information about the disease and what they can do to manage and control the disease and again, we talk with—in that clinic, we focus a lot on the environmental aspects.

Holli Thompson: And what are some of the environmental aspects about 00:13:08 contributing to asthma?

Mary Mueller: In terms of what the family can control, many things in the household. So for example, carpets and pets and smoking and chemicals that you might use in your home for cleaning, these are all things that we need to help our families and kids to understand they need to avoid in their environment.

Holli Thompson: The Children’s Hospital of Michigan services over or provides care for over a quarter million children a year.

[Playing Music 00:13:53 – 00:14:12]

Rabbi G.: Kids Kicking Cancer is actually celebrating its 10 year this coming 2010. We began with 12 students at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. We teach the children karate.

Female: Hi, I’m Zoe(ph), and I’m going to teach you some karate.

I kick better than you.

Rabbi G.: Really, the martial art is about three words; power, peace, and then we teach them purpose. When you’re able to deal with what so many people never can imagine, what you’re dealing with, and you’re dealing with it, with this power and creating inner peace, people are watching you. And because they are watching you, you’re having an impact in your teaching. So we teach breath work, we teach meditation, guided imagery, how to punch and kick.


But when they go to the pads, the pad becomes however they describe it, their cancer, their sickle-cell, their tumor, their anger, their fear. And in the marshal arts, you learn that when you’re breaking through something, you actually have to image a breaking. If you see in your mind you are hand breaking, don’t do it, it’s not a good idea.

Holli Thompson: Yeah.

Rabbi G.: My first little hero was our daughter. She was diagnosed at age one right before her first birthday with leukemia, with ALL. A number of years after she passed away, we were approached to become involved in a pediatric camping situation(ph) for kids with cancer. I told the guy (00:15:57) little girl who would be our daughter.

Holli Thompson: Right.

Rabbi G.: And he’s a great salesman, it took about five minutes to realize that you can make these kids laugh, and they’re just children. And I did that for many years, for 12 years, I directed this camp.

I can upon on a five-year-old child who is having a support access for chemotherapy, and he was being held down. And now I (00:16:20) the faculty in the medical school here and we teach around(ph) and through other hospitals and clinics about how to deal with pain. But we learn that if a person is afraid, the pain actually goes up significant. A boy is screaming being held down by two big nurses, and when you’re five years old, everybody is big. And he is screaming and it was (00:16:44) I walked into that situation, I just said, “Wait,” but I don’t have a clue, what was I going to say next.

And then I approached the nurse, “Give me five minutes with this child.” And the nurses were—after they leaved, the kid looked at me, like I told you, I was the governor, I just stated execution.

Holli Thompson: Yeah.

Rabbi G.: And I approached this little boy and I said, “You know, I’m a black belt, did you want me to teach you some karate?” (00:17:11) off the table.

I explained to him, “In the martial arts, you learn that it is a message you don’t have to listen to. You can feel this amazing chi, this amazing energy. It doesn’t matter what you call it, and you could blow off the pain. Watch me.” And five minutes later, we were enjoying a very quick tai chi breathing technique together. 20 minutes later, the nurse took out the needle and the little boy looked at her and he said, “Did you do inject(ph).”

Female: These same children teach those breathing and relaxation techniques online.

Female: Let the air pass through your body.

Female: And even inside corporations, helping overworked stressed out employees to relax and breathe through their struggle.

Rabbi G.: We give black belts to children at the end of their lives, and we embroider the child’s name in one end, and master teacher on the other. So we teach the child (00:18:08), teach meditation and the breath work. There is a lot of training involved in that.

Can you teach me what you teach to the kids?

Rabbi G.: Power.

Holli Thompson: Power.

Rabbi G.: Peace.

Holli Thompson: Peace.

Rabbi G.: Purpose.

[Music Playing 00:18:22 – 00:18:38]

Vivian Day: The organization was founded over 10 years ago by woman named Beth Dance. And she had lost her mother to cancer, as did I. And this Local Motion—Local Motion Green was her idea, analyzing the information, breaking it down into simple layman’s terms and then sharing it with the public. And I’m a coach here at the moment as this wonderful woman named Susan Hulbert(ph) and we just sort of stand back and support people like Melissa who have such a deep, deep understanding of the issues.

Melissa Sargent: Our motto has been “A Better Health Through Fewer Toxins,” and so it is my job to convey the people what they can do in their everyday lives to just reduce their exposures to daily toxins.

We teach people how to read labels. And so, when you look at your household cleaner that maybe under your kitchen sink, you will see signal words there that has been designated by the EPA. And so, you will see something such as caution, warning or danger, and caution being less hazard, danger being the most. So we just tell people to look for those signal words and try to get the latest toxic signal word that you can when you’re purchasing or we even show them how to make your own household cleaners with food-based ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda.


Holli Thompson: Most households think only of swallowing. So, well, it’s dangerous only when my child swallows it, but they’re not thinking about how readily things can be absorbed through our skin tissues and through the air we breathe.

Vivian Day: Exactly, think about some of those strongest shower cleaners you can imagine, and that there’s always a remnant left in the shower and then you turn on the hot water and then the steam comes up and the fumes and the remnants of this horrible cleaner, and it really could take in quite a bit.

Holli Thompson: Right.

Vivian Day: And white vinegar and water and a number of other simple household products as you say that can do an equally good cleaning job and not hurt at all.

Holli Thompson: What about all the new and very expensive, I might add, cleaning products that are “green”? You know, there seems to be a lot of new companies coming out with green lines of, you know, cleaning products for every different thing. Is it worth the money? Is it worth doing that or should we just be mixing up vinegar and water?

Melissa Sargent: Well, it’s a personal choice. Some people, they’re very busy and (00:21:22) very busy, but some people would rather take a few moments and mix it up and some people just don’t really want to get their hands dirty or you know, they’ll just buy it off the shelf and that’s what they’re comfortable with. They’re more comfortable with the branded products that they know that is said will do this. And that’s fine, and it’s wonderful if there is more options out there now. And they’re easier to find, you don’t have to go (00:21:46), you can go (00:21:46) but you can also find them in the bigger (00:21:50) store as well.

You can go to our website which is, all one word, and hopefully there you will find an abundance of information, not only on green cleaning but we have our green living pages, and that I believe there is about eight different green living pages where you can find a lot of information on a lot of different topics.

Holli Thompson: What I love about this city is that I really feel that the city is coming back, that there are all these great social entrepreneurs like yourself who are doing amazing things for the city and giving back and creating wonderful programs for the people. I mean do you see that, too?

Vivian Day: Absolutely, absolutely. It is a wonderful city. The architecture is fabulous, the Detroit River is beautiful and the people who are in Detroit really, really care about the city.

Holli Thompson: They do. That’s what I’m getting and in fact, people who are here that people who are here, love their city, they want to make it better, they wanted to bring it back, and it really shows, we’re really feeling that today. It’s wonderful.

Vivian Day: Terrific. There is a lot of good energy, and there has always been entrepreneurial spirit in this city. And now the times are the way they are, it really allows that spirit to become reinvigorated and it is very exciting.\

Holli Thompson: It is.

[Music playing 00:23:25 – 00:24:01]