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3 Things: Emily Schaller

Emily Schaller
Emily Schaller

All this year, Michigan Radio has been asking people from across the state for their 3 ideas of what we can all do to improve things here in Michigan.  The series is called 3 Things and today we hear from Emily Schaller, founder of Rock CF Foundation, a group dedicated to increasing the quality of life for people with Cystic Fibrosis.

Ms. Schaller begins by encouraging everyone to exercise regularly. As someone who’s suffered from cystic fibrosis, Schaller says exercise has greatly benefited her health. Not only has running kept her healthier, Schaller says it’s also saved on health care costs. She says, “I noticed, the more running I did, the less hospitalizations I needed, the less courses of antibiotics I needed, so right there’s reducing health care. So if we can get the whole state to get active, you won’t have diabetes, you won’t have pre-diabetes. Let’s get moving and let’s cut health care costs.”

In addition being more physically active, Ms. Schaller wants Michiganders to start eating more healthily. She urges people in the state to eat more fruits and vegetables, especially those grown in Michigan. Schaller says no matter where you are in the state, there is locally grown produce nearby. “In Detroit there’s urban farms,” says Schaller, “And then if I travel to the west side of the state to visit my brother in Grand Rapids, there’s blueberries. You can buy, like, a huge, huge bushel of blueberries for two dollars and it’ll last you two months… Let’s support these guys. Instead of buying an orange from South Africa, let’s buy some blueberries from Grand Rapids or heirloom tomatoes from downtown Detroit.”

For her final idea, Ms. Schaller thinks the state would be better off if more people spent time and money in Detroit. While many people don’t think of Detroit as a great place to shop, Schaller says that Detroit has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to food. “You can go to Eastern Market,” says Schaller, “You can support incredible bakeries. Avalon Bakery is an organic bakery and they use local products… Supino Pizza uses local ingredients. And then there’s Pure Detroit, which is a store of all things Detroit, three locations downtown, and their focus is just getting Detroit out there.”

While Schaller admits, “I’m obsessed with food,” she says there are plenty of other things to be excited about in Detroit. “Detroit is the heartbeat of Michigan” she says, “It’s where the industry started, and obviously we’ve had some problems recently, but if we can get that back on track – bring people down to Detroit – there’s so much development in housing, supermarkets hopefully coming, and kids. I mean, Wayne State has a lot of students… and they are living in Detroit and thriving in Detroit. So, if we get Detroit back on track, it’ll just radiate through Michigan and we’ll be rockin’.”

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.