A cooperative living community of farm workers, food service employees, culinary students, agri-business entrepreneurs, and other local food and farming partners could address the intersection of several problems and potentials related to affordable housing in our region. This living community would be open to anyone involved in or serious about getting involved with local food work, and could help lay the foundation for a new generation of farmers.
Early in my time here, Heather Ratliffe, one of my supervisors and co-chair of the Northwestern Michigan Food and Farming Network, explained something very essential to me, “In the national movement of food system change, the thing that sets Michigan apart from everywhere else is collaboration. We have networks of networks. Northern Michigan is the heart of this statewide model, as the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network partners work together despite potential for competition— we realize that we’re all working towards the same mission of reinventing a localized food system.” This sentiment really stuck with me. As the new Americorps VISTA for the network, it helped set the stage for my year of service catalyzing positive change within the food and farming community of this region.