The Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG), based in Gaylord, MI, was established in 1968 as a multi-county organization to pool resources for the assistance of local governments throughout eight counties. The organization has their hand in everything from tourism, transportation, planning & community development, economic development, local government, housing, environment and natural resources, to local foods, just to name a few. By and large, the organization tends to fly under the radar in all the productive work they do that benefits our communities. But make no mistake, NEMCOG has assisted local governments obtain millions of dollars in federal and state grants for vital local projects and services.
One of their recent endeavors beginning in 2016 was to seek and provide funding through their Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI) to employ a NE Local Food Coordinator with Taste the Local Difference. Through this funding, the northeastern portion of the state has begun to take advantage of TLD’s mission of supporting Michigan farmers and producers.
To help cultivate a deeper understanding of the local and regional food system here in the Northeast, Presque Isle Farm, owned by TLD’s NE Local Food Coordinator, Molly, and her husband, Dion, hosted NEMCOG at their last RPI meeting on August 23rd. There were about twenty participants that enjoyed lamb brats from Kammer-Paulus Farms. People also feasted on tomato caprese, pasta salad, seasonal greens with dressing, chips with fresh pico de gallo, and potato salad made with vegetables grown on site. Several of the group members stayed after the meeting for a tour of the farm and to get some hands-on exposure to small-scale intensive farming. The increasing demand for local food is creating opportunities for commercial success through this method of crop production and allowing established farmers to either downsize or diversify their operations throughout the country.
Taste the Local Difference is ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with such an impactful organization that is celebrating the best Michigan has to offer.