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MQT Local Food Fest 2018 Recap

Alex Palzewicz, Benefit, Event, Find Local Food

MQT Local Food Fest Statistics

•7 Northern Michigan University Hospitality Management Alumni Chefsmff4

First Place & People’s Choice Rory Shimp of Spiaggia in Chicago
MAD Rabbits Farm, Daggett

Second Place Colin Campbell of POUR Kitchen + Bar
Thill’s Fish House, Marquette

Third Place Angela Verburg of Harley’s Lounge at the Ramada InnSwanzy, Gwinn & Seeds and Spores Farm, Marquette

•3 NMU Hospitality Management Faculty

•5 NMU Hospitality Management Alumni Coordinators

•10 NMU Student Volunteers

•3 Outstanding Community Volunteers

•7 Judges

•Over 10 indispensable Sponsorsmff2

•Over $500 spent on a UP Food Exchange Purchase from UP Farmers

•Over $1,100 spent on local food via direct farmer & producer purchases

•11 UP Harvest Basket Entries raising a total of $615

•$1,100 spent on local live entertainment

•$400 spent on other local specific businesses

•$150 spent on local decor; flowers & produce

•Purchases made from over 20 local farmers, and 6 local producers

•14 Different Locally Focused Chef Dishes

•Over 30 Door Prizes from Local Businesses

•Over 200 Attendees – plus kids!

$1,850 Raised! – THANK YOU!

I had this vision for the MQT Local Food Fest, and that vision is not mff1what I saw this past Saturday at Barrel + Beam Brewery, in Marquette, MI. What I saw when I took a moment to step onto a hay bale and look over the crowd was so much grander. Since I have become a part of the Taste the Local Difference Team, I’ve had the honor of traveling and working with some incredible people including chefs, farmers, local business, different organizations, health professionals, brewers, and everyday people who are passionate about local food. This past Saturday, I got them all in the same room. I wish I could write a novel so I could tell every small story and highlight every relationship, because each one give me more and more confidence in the success of Local Food Systems here in the UP.

I think the most important message of our event wasn’t just to support local food, but to honor and respect the people and careers connected to food. I started raising animals at the age of 5, and started working at a local resort at the age of 16. I don’t mention this because I want to prove that I have experience, I mention this because since then, I’ve been a first hand witness of the struggles, successes, ups and downs of people who work in careers surrounding food. Late nights washing dishes, long days planting in the sun, hauling hundreds of pounds of produce to and from market, 16 hour days all on your feet, high stress situations – and these are just some of the experiences people in our industries encounter daily. These situations will always be a part of life for many of us – but the point I want to make is that healthy and delicious food, purchased from local farmers, producers, and chefs is to be honored and respected. A lot of work goes into something that we then place into our body – a very intimate experience and decision that affects your own health and wellbeing, along with the wealth of your own community.

I am proud to say we raised over $1,800 at our event, and that $300 will go to sponsor a Garden Bed through Partridge Creek Farm, a non-profit farm working on Farm-to-School programs and community garden projects in Ishpeming. We are also excited to donate $150 to the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market Power of Produce Program. Monetarily, our event was a success, but more importantly we were able to get some important conversations started and some crucial connections made.

Personally my favorite part was how this event helped put a little glimmer of light back into the eyes of people that mean so much to me and the Local Food Movement. I saw so many smiles, hugs, high fives, so much teamwork, collaboration and most of all celebration. So thankIMG_3364 you again to our amazing sponsors: Ojibwa Casino, Marquette Food Co-op, Radio Results Network, Barrel + Beam, NMU College of Technology and Occupational Sciences, NMU Alumni Association, UP Health & Happiness Magazine, Travel Marquette, the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, the Marquette Chamber of Commerce, Econo Foods and last but not least – Taste the Local Difference for all your support, and helping us make our event a success.

Stay tuned for details on next year!

Cheers,

AP

Alex Palzewicz is the UP Local Food Coordinator. Contact her at alex@localdifference.org

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A Farmer’s Diary: Beginning Farmer Institute

Event, Get Involved, Molly Stepanski

When you bring a bunch of farmers together over pizza and beer, there’s a certain magic that happens. On September 9th, after traveling from thirteen different states, nineteen farmers from incredibly diverse backgrounds descended on Washington, DC, for the first session of the 2018-19 National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI). This educational opportunity is an annual leadership training program that offers three sessions in different parts of the country. In November, we’ll meet up again in northern California and March in Washington state. The mission of BFI is “to empower people to educate our youth, neighbors, media and policymakers of the social, economic and cooperative contributions of family agriculture.”

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NFU Fall Legislative Fly-in and the Farm Bill

Economy, Environment, Event, Get Involved, Learn More, Molly Stepanski

The National Farmers Union (NFU) was founded over 110 years ago and advocates for grassroots policy change that supports the welfare of family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and consumers. NFU writes, “We promote sustainable production of food, feed, fiber, and fuel and work with our 200,000 member families nationwide to support smart farm policies, educate the public and develop the next generation of farm leaders.” To achieve this mission, the nationwide organization coordinates legislative fly-ins in the spring and fall every year as critical issues come before Congress for a vote.

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Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, restaurant

You either sink or swim under the grueling demands of a busy professional kitchen. Chad Edwards has been cooking in Gaylord restaurants since age 14, and was the chef for two establishments in the city before turning 21. After years of rigor and practice, Edwards’ was swimming full bore on October 28, 2010, when he opened The Bearded Dogg Lounge. And at this colorful cafe, “you may sit in a booth made from old doors or at the bar crafted from maple flooring from the local nunnery, at a gathering table, in a loveseat, or at any one of several antique dining tables.” You can tell a lot of love and ingenuity has been put into this place. And it’s not just the quirky, hand-hewn seating and masterful plating of food. It’s the flourishing garden in the adjacent field constructed and tended by Chad and his father that accents the menu’s favorites. It’s the fact that Edwards wants to create a line of his own bottled salad dressings and brews the restaurant’s Doggweiser Blonde Ale. It’s the fact that in northeastern Michigan, Chad Edwards is pioneering in an old way of doing things again.

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Is Your Farm FSMA Compliant?

Economy, Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Health, Kelly Wilson, Learn More

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. The goal of this legislation is prevent contamination of food produced in the United States before foodborne illness outbreaks occur. The Produce Safety Rule of FSMA has huge implications for many growers across the state. This year, compliance of the full rule will be enforced for farms grossing $500K or more. Smaller farms have until 2019 or 2020 to comply with rule, depending on their income.

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Calling all CSA Farmers!

Economy, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson

The Michigan Statewide CSA Working Group announces the release of the first Michigan CSA Farm Survey. Data from this survey serves as a critical underpinning toward developing broad strategies to support Michigan’s CSA farmers and their communities.

If you are currently a CSA farmer, or have had a CSA operation in the past, please consider taking this survey. Individual responses will be kept confidential. Aggregated data and analysis will be used to inform local and state agencies how to proactively address the needs of Michigan’s CSA farms and farmers.

Survey Link: http://bit.ly/MICSASurvey

Questions: MiCSAsurvey@gmail.com

The Michigan Statewide CSA Working Group includes:

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Shaping our Agricultural Landscape: The Farm Bill

Economy, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson

Every five years Congress votes on a massive piece of legislation that dramatically influences the landscape and nutrition of our nation:The Farm Bill. This piece of legislation determines what we eat and how it is grown and has huge impacts on public and environmental health. The current (2014) Farm Bill only accounts for 4% of total federal spending and includes 12 titles addressing broad topic areas.

ann arbor farmers market

Ann Arbor Farmers Market – The Experience Never Ends

Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Rebecca Locke, Southeast Michigan, Stories

As we enter the fall season and enjoy the abundance of the autumn harvest, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market may be at its peak but the experience of the Market continues year round.

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Capture Farming and Adventure, in a Bottle at Rove

Find Local Food, Specialty Producers, Tricia Phelps, Wine

The job of a farmer is never done. To do it well, they must think critically and instinctively to determine the vast number of influences a plant may be under at any given time. The work is labor intensive, never just 9-5, and with all the effort and best intentions — mother nature gets the final say. It’s an incredible career, worthy of the utmost respect and this region is lucky enough to have generations of farm families that still tend the land today.

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The Friendly Faces (and Farms) of Cheboygan

Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Learn More, Molly Stepanski, Stories

 

In our 2017 Guide to Local Food in Northern Michigan, we profiled Alpena in Northeastern Michigan. Now, it’s Cheboygan’s time to shine. We talked with a few farms/businesses that are driven by making local food more accessible to their community.