New market gives Pontiac residents access to healthy food

The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition has partnered with the St. John United Methodist Church to bring a fresh produce market to Pontiac. The market, located at 620 University Drive, sells low-cost fruits and vegetables every Friday from 3-6 p.m.

“Pontiac’s fresh produce market, like my quality of life initiatives, promotes active and healthy lifestyles by increasing access to fruits and vegetables,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “It is a much needed addition to the City of Pontiac.”

The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition conducted a survey in 2011 that found more than half of Pontiac residents who responded indicated the high cost of produce and lack of neighborhood sites to buy it was a barrier to include fruits and vegetables in their diets. As part of a 3-year strategic action plan to address some of the most pressing health issues facing Pontiac residents, The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition engaged local community partners for a creative answer to increase residents’ access to low-cost produce.

“A diet high in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers,” said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Oakland County Health Division.

Community-based wellness projects such as Pontiac’s produce market are a priority for public health agencies across the state. With the recent launch of theMichigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan by the Michigan Department of Community Health, support will continue to grow. The goal of the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan is for every Michigan resident to use the 4 x 4 tool to maintain and/or attain health. This tool asks individuals to practice four healthy behaviors and keep four health measures in control.

“The Health Division shares L. Brooks Patterson’s vision for a healthier Oakland County and the vision for a healthier Michigan as laid out in the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan,” Forzley said. “One of the components of the Michigan 4×4 Plan is healthy eating. We encourage everyone to eat a variety of nutritious foods and beverages like vegetables, fruits, low- and fat-free dairy products and whole grains.”

The Michigan Health and Wellness 4×4 Plan and tools for Michigan residents to assess their health and create a personal plan can be found online at

The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition began in 2011 to bring health-related initiatives such as healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free living to improve the health and quality of life for Pontiac residents. It is a diverse coalition which includes leaders in primary and preventive health care, mental health, human service agencies, education, the religious community, and governmental agencies in addition to local residents.

For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at