TLD Announces Harvest Haiku Challenge

Bill Palladino, Event, Get Involved, Press Release

Harvest Haiku Banner

Date:               October 1, 2016

Contact:         Bill Palladino, (231)590-1685

Harvest Haiku Challenge Launched in Northern Michigan

Traverse City – Taste the Local Difference®, Michigan’s local food, branding and marketing organization, has launched the Harvest Haiku Challenge in partnership with Blackbird Arts TC and Michigan Writers. The poetry contest opened for entries on October 1 with a deadline of November 15, 2016.

Haiku are a form of Japanese poetry. Each haiku is spare in design, expressing a single emotion or impression in seventeen syllables of unrhymed words on three lines with five, seven, and five syllables on each line, respectively. The short poems are often related to the natural world. The emphasis for this contest will be on celebrating the many facets of Northern Michigan’s harvest season.

Taste the Local Difference® (TLD) is partnering with two non-profit organizations to present the Harvest Haiku Challenge. Michigan Writers (,) a cooperative effort by and for Michigan writers, will provide judging of three main age categories of submissions; grades K-6, grades 7-12 and adult. Prizes will be awarded in each category and in a series of subcategories created by Michigan Writers. Winning entries will be showcased at Blackbird Arts’ gallery in Traverse City and will be published in a hand-set letterpress chapbook designed and printed by Blackbird Arts (,) and their print arts workshop.

Winning entries will also be published in TLD’s 2017 Guide to Local Food magazine, now in its fourteenth year of publication, with a circulation of 80,000 across Michigan.

Entry forms for the Harvest Haiku Challenge are available in coffee shops, stores, breweries and other places where people gather, or by contacting TLD. Entries can also be submitted online at Teachers in all grade levels are especially encouraged to use the Harvest Haiku Challenge in classrooms.

The deadline for all submissions is November 15, 2016. Judging will be managed by Michigan Writers with awardees announced in February 2017. The printing and gallery opening for winning entries at Blackbird Arts will occur in the spring of 2017, with the magazine feature in TLD’s Guide to Local Food in Northern Michigan scheduled for May of 2017.

For more, information, please contact Bill Palladino at (231) 590-1685 or


Taste the Local Difference® is a social enterprise of the Traverse City-based Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. For more than 20 years, Groundwork has focused on three areas to create stronger, more vibrant, and resilient communities: transportation, clean energy, and food and farming. Taste the Local Difference® is a recognized leader in developing new models for local food systems in Michigan and elsewhere.

Washtenaw County’s First Meet-the-Buyers Event: The next step in strengthening our local food economy

Economy, Event, Find Local Food, Food Policy, Get Involved, Guest Post, Jae Gerhart

Did you know that Washtenaw County has a food policy council? You may be asking yourself, what is food policy and why is it important to our community? According to Anthony Flaccavento, a food systems consultant and commercial organic farmer, policy is best understood as a framework that influences behavior. Thus, a food policy council is a group of community members gathered together to influence and steer issues related to food in a given region.

Established in 2012, the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council developed a set of agenda items, divided into categories of Farmers and Institutional Purchasing, Planning and Zoning, Food Waste and Packaging, Food Access and Nutrition, and Pollinators. These groups, better known as Policy Action Teams (PATs), meet regularly to move forward initiatives related to the policy agenda items. Attendees for these meetings are often comprised of strategic community partners and stakeholders who care about the strength and vitality of our local food system.

In September, the Farmers and Institutional Purchasing PAT came together at Argus Farm Stop to hear from our local farmers their perspective on farm-to-institution transactions as well as to discuss the broad goals and issues around farm-to-institution work. The group, made up of small farmers, medium-sized farmers, food processors, and people who work in institutions participated in a dynamic conversation that made light of the fact that many of our small, beginning farmers (10 years of farming or less) don’t have the scale for which to sell to institutions. Institutional purchasers, and wholesale buyers in general, often require large volumes, USDA-quality standards and sizing, and food safety certification, all for a lower price-point than they can get at market. Most of our small farmers don’t have the scale for which to do sales on this level.

For context, farmer’s markets and other direct-to-consumer markets are often weather dependent, seasonal, and limited in the population who can access them. The policy council sees institutional purchasing as a carrot – a goal – for which if that avenue can be opened as a potential route for local food transactions, then the community of growers in our region will be more economically viable in the long-run and additionally, more people will have access to quality, nutritious, local food.

What was realized through this discussion, is that the best way to assist our farmers where they are right now, is to expand the community of all purchasers (chefs, food service directors, retailers, distributors) who want to work with local food. If we have a stronger and larger group of potential buyers willing to work with our local farmers, more transactions will lead to greater profits for the farms and greater vitality of their businesses.

The first step for those buyer-farmer relationships to get established is with a meeting. This group, and anyone else who would like to participate, will be planning a Meet-the-Buyer Event, slated for the winter of 2016-2017 for which to bring together farmers and all potential buyers in the region to meet each other. It will be an opportunity for the farmers to share product lists, growing practices, delivery schedules, etc., and for the general networking and enthusiasm around local food to increase and grow.

The next meeting for which to plan this Meet-the-Buyers Event will be on October 12th from 6pm-8pm at Argus Farm Stop. For more information, email Jae Gerhart at

For more information on the Washtenaw Food Policy Council, visit


How to Store & Savor the Season

Find Local Food, Recipes, Tricia Phelps

If you’re like me, it’s an exciting time when fall hits home in Michigan. The cooler weather brings out comfortable layers and more of my time is just naturally spent in the kitchen. But as fall sinks in, I really start to feel the need to store and savor the last bits of summer and the flavors of fall.


Village at GT Commons Farmers Market Prepares to go Indoors

Diana Jelenek, Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Meg Gutowski, Stories

Nestled in the heart of the Grand Traverse Commons is The Village at Grand Traverse Commons Farmers Market. The Outdoor Market runs every Monday from 12pm-4pm in the warmer months on the Piazza beginning the fourth week in May through the second week in October. The Indoor Market begins the first Saturday in November from 10am-2pm and runs through April.

Garlic 28

Garlic Lovers Unite!: 3rd Annual Crosshatch Garlic Auction

Benefit, Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Mollie Thomas, Stories

The Third Annual Crosshatch Garlic Auction is just around the corner. This annual event serves two very important purposes: to fundraise for Crosshatch’s sustainable food & farming programming and to celebrate the farmers, food producers, and eaters that make NW Lower Michigan what it is.

Join us October 15 for an evening of good food, good cheer, and good friends. Featuring both a silent auction and live auction, bluegrass music for listening and dancing, and a live judging of garlic grown from area farmers competing for the coveted “Best in Show” award. Attendees will get the chance to taste the judged garlic entries along with the jury.

The top 6 winning garlic lots will be sold off by Bill Collins in a spirited live auction. The garlic will be coupled with other gifts, like an Electra Cruiser Bike, a 2-night stay with meals included at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, two lift tickets for Boyne Mountain Resort or Boyne Highlands, a set of full inoculated shiitake mushroom logs, and more.

Start off the night with some garlic-y appetizers from Frog Hollow Farm, Crooked Tree Breadworks, and The Redheads, while you peruse the silent auction. Then enjoy an autumnal jambalaya dinner featuring locally grown and produced grain from Grand Traverse Culinary Oils & Flours prepared by the chefs at Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen. We’ll even have some garlic-themed desserts, thanks to the creative cooks at Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate. A cash bar will also be available.

The Garlic Auction takes place at the Historic Elk Rapids Town Hall and is sure to be a warm, welcoming event. Come out and celebrate our region’s robust food & farming culture and take home some award-winning garlic while you’re at it. Mark your calendars for October 15 from 5-10pm. Tickets are $25 in advance, or buy a whole table for 8 at a discounted price of $20/ticket. Call Jeannie at 231-622-5252 with any questions.

This event is made possible by generous support from: Cherry Capital Foods, Grain Train Natural Foods Markets, Oryana Community Co-op, SNAP Printing, Applesauce Inn Bed & Breakfast, Edible Grande Traverse, and Taste the Local Difference.  

Mollie Thomas is the Communications and Development Coordinator for Crosshatch Arts and Ecology Center. You can reach her at  


Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace 2

A Healthy Community is Growing at the Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace

Amanda Edmonds, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Retail, Stories


Growing Hope’s Tuesday afternoon farmers market — held at their still-under-development Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace at 16 S. Washington Street in Downtown Ypsi — is moving indoors for the first time this fall.

Shimek's Farm Stand on M-72 in Leelanau County

Reaping What Farmers Have Sown

Bill Palladino, Find Local Food, Record-Eagle Ag Forum

“Before the reward, there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.” – Ralph Ransom

The abundance of northern Michigan’s many riches is never more apparent than now. The approaching fall demands that farmers set our tables with the literal fruits of their summer’s labor. Visit one of our local farmers markets and be ready for an impressive diversity of locally grown crops.