Food Infographic To Make You Think

Economy, Food Policy

This infographic comes to us from our good friends at the Fair Food Network.  Oran Hesterman, executive director of the Detroit based nonprofit, hired renown economist Michael Shuman to research the potential impacts of shifting the local food economy in Michigan up by 20%.  This graphic is part of a summary of Shuman’s report that tries to shed some light on the power of a local food economy.

The big thing to look for here is the opportunity represented by these numbers.  How can we as a community of food producers seek to fill some of these niches, and in so doing capture a rich market that we are otherwise simply throwing away?

20% Shift Infographic

 

To view the full sized PDF of the above infographic, please click here.

A Season of Transition

Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Retail, Tricia Phelps

Cold temperatures are descending on northern Michigan as one season ends and another approaches. But more than ever before, local farmers are extending their growing season with greenhouses, hoophouses and covering late season crops to shield them from frost. With that effort, even throughout the cold winter months, consumers have access to fresh, local produce. Outdoor farmers markets may be closing down, but indoor farmers markets are emerging all throughout the region.

Farmland 5k Run Benefits MLUI

Benefit, Event, Get Involved

 

Farmland5K
Farmland 5K European Style XC Challenge

and “Free for All” Bike race – any bike, fat bike, cyclocross bike, mountain bike

December 7th, 2013

Events start at 12:00 noon

Race Packet Pick up/Late Registration Friday, December 6, 4-7 p.m. Cherry Republic downtown Traverse City and Saturday, December 7, 10:30 a.m. at the race site.  Go to http://www.xcchallengetcruns.com for event details.

 

 

The Farmland 5K European Style XC Challenge! is a 3.1 mile cross country run held on the north’s only dedicated cross country course on turf grass (or snow!), surrounding private centennial farmland.  Compete as a team – cross country style – with lowest score of finishers, or as an individual, and earn original prizes.

New for 2013 – Farmland “Free For All” Bike Race – any bike, fat bike, cyclocross bike, mountain bike

Cost: $35 early registration, no refunds or transfers, family rates available. No refunds or transfers.

Have a team?  Contact us at  lisamarytaylor@gmail.com to sign up a team and receive a discount code for 7 or more participants.

http://www.xcchallengetcruns.com/

What is MLUI Membership? Become an advocate for local food, clean energy, smart transportation choices, and for sustainable communities. Join the Michigan Land Use Institute for only $10! Add this membership fee to your Farmland 5K registration and MLUI will keep you connected to the issues that matter to you.

Family Rate (for moms, dads, kids, and grandparents from the same family only)  

Contact Event Promoter:
Wellness Professionals LLC
www.xcchallengetcruns.com
231-631-2195

GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Food

Bill Palladino, Food Policy, Learn More

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This story originally appeared as part of the Ag Forum section of the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

-by Bill Palladino  (Bill Palladino is Senior Policy Specialist for the Michigan Land Use Institute)

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine our Great Lakes state, from Detroit to the Sault, and across the U.P. to Ironwood.  We’re a big, proud, two-handed state.  For an entire century we’ve been known for greatness, and the one proud thing to rule them all is the great American automobile.  It started here, innovated here, and is still struggling to reemerge here.  Remember Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad, “I got a question for you, what does this city know about Luxury?”

As you stroll through your own town each day, look at the streets.  If they’re like mine they’re lined one upon another with big, glorious, American steel beasts, pickup trucks, SUVs, and big old sedans.  Sure, there’s a growing infestation of smaller, more svelte Asian and European invaders, but Michigan lives by its“Big Three,” and for these we’ll fight to the death. Just up the block from me is Hagerty Insurance, where there’s always a brightly polished reminder of better days on display. These Fords and Chryslers and GMs all harken back to a time when tires came from rubber trees and steel was hacked from the Earth by Yoopers singing Woody Guthrie songs. We’re proud of this heritage. Our fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers labored to provide Michigan this great story.  Are you singing “This Land is Our Land” yet?

Now, imagine if you will a time when we walk down these same streets and the tables are turned.  Instead of mostly American made cars, the parking lots are filled with 95 percent imports, with only a small smattering here and there of the American breeds.  For whatever reason, Michiganders are happy to ignore our homegrown brands. How might it make you feel that all this great American genius was pushed to the wayside?  How would it effect the emotional state of that relative of yours who once worked for GM?  How would our economy be impacted?  Are you angry yet?  O.K., now take a breath.

What if this economic and social catastrophe had already occurred but in another sector of the economy?  What if we as consumers had already turned our backs?  Well we have, and I’m talking about our local food economy.  The story’s the same , and so is the cast of characters: hard-working, values-based, dirt-under-the-fingernails pioneers.  But there are no rock stars pumping their fists to regenerate the lost economy of locally grown food.  Neither Kid Rock, nor Clint Eastwood, has ever pitched ads for Bardenhagen apples or American Spoon jam.

Go to your favorite grocery store and look at the shelves.  Where is the locally grown food?  Oh, it’s there, but it’s buried behind an insipid blur of commodity-scaled products with glitzy labels and expensive ad campaigns. Why is it so difficult to find local produce here during the first week of October, when bin-fuls from Washington, California, New York, and Mexico are plentiful?  Why, when we live in the second most diverse agricultural state in the U.S., do we struggle to buy the very products that are grown virtually in our own backyards?  The answer of course is a complex one.

Many of us in northwest Michigan are tired of waiting for the right answer. We’re about to go out on a limb and try something on our own, something new.  Over the next few months we’ll be testing a series of marketing strategies to help sell more locally grown food from Manistee to the straights of Mackinac.  You’ll be seeing a new brand emerge in your local grocery stores, starting with Tom’s Food Markets and then spreading outward. The Taste the Local Difference (TLD) name and logo will soon begin to appear on your grocer’s shelves to help differentiate local products from the mass of others crowding them out.

Imagine a day when you look down the aisles at your neighborhood grocery store, and at a glance know which products were grown or made here.  This vision is part of our strategy to get northwest Michigan farms to provide 20% of all the region’s food by the year 2020.  I can see the TV ad now.  It’s being voiced-over by Eminem. As the camera moves in slowly filling the screen with images of swaying green fields and orchards, you can hear the proud angst in his voice as he says, “This is northwest Michigan, and this is what we do.”