Step Back in Time at the Island House Hotel

Benefit, Drinks, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, Wine

Since 1852, the historic Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island has housed guests coming ashore to the island. Today, it feels just like stepping back in time. With some of the most spectacular views of the harbor, the hotel is just a skip and a jump to downtown. That’s fortunate because motor traffic is banned on the island, so, walking, biking, and horse-drawn carriages are the preferred modes of transportation.

The Best Picnic of the Year: A Benefit for Food Gatherers

Benefit, Event, Find Local Food, Scott Hardin, Southeast Michigan

Do you want to support your local food system? Fight food insecurity in your community? Have a lot of fun? How about all of those at once? You’re in luck! You’re invited to the 30th anniversary of Grillin’ for Food Gatherers, a community picnic that features Washtenaw County’s finest food, while gathering funds to fight hunger where we live.

Spring Dinner with Blom Meadworks and Fresh Forage

Benefit, Drinks, Eat Local, Event, Find Local Food, Kelly Wilson

The expanding collaboration and partnership among growers and producers in southeast Michigan forges a robust and resilient food system. Bløm Meadworks and Fresh Forage intentionally cultivate these connections to grow their local food community. Both businesses place a high priority on sourcing ingredients from Michigan producers while also committing support to their surrounding communities.

Investing in Local Pollinators

Benefit, Environment, Get Involved

Pollinators may appear small, but they have a massive impact in our ecosystem. These buzzing bees and native pollinators are a necessary, yet often forgotten, component of our food system. When habitat needs are met, these fundamental creatures can produce the fruits we love, and many of the seeds that provide our nourishing foods. We need their help as much as they need ours. Given the significant decline in bee populations, it is a crucial time for farms to create healthy habitats, food, and refuge for our pollinators.

7 Warming Winter Food Events in Traverse City

Bailey Samp, Benefit, Drinks, Eat Local, Environment, Event, Find Local Food, Specialty Producers, Traverse City, Wine

Embrace the long Winter season with these local dinners, community events, and cooking classes in the Traverse City area! There’s plenty of opportunities for everyone to get out of the house on the frightful Winter days ahead.

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

Cultivating Health through School Gardens

Benefit, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Health, Marissa Natzke, Paula Martin, Stories

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBA ISD) is using gardening as a tool to improve student health. Thanks to SNAP-ED funding through the USDA and the Michigan Fitness Foundation, TBA ISD implements a program called LifeSPAN, which performs cooking and nutrition lessons year round in the classroom to increase students fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity levels. Currently, they’re running summer garden camps where kids partake in nutrition lessons, help in school gardens, and cook healthy meals using produce they harvest.

Farm to Table Dinner at MSU Tollgate Farm to feature local food prepared by chef and MSU alumnus Jeff Rose

Benefit, Drinks, Emily Kittendorf, Event, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Southeast Michigan

Jeff Rose, Michigan State University alumnus and Come as You Are (CAYA) Smokehouse Grill executive chef, will be the featured chef at the MSU Tollgate Farm to Table Dinner, Aug. 25, 2018, at 4 p.m. The event’s four-course meal will highlight food grown at the MSU Tollgate Farm in Novi, Michigan, or from farms within a 25-mile radius of the facility.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market: Market-to-Chef Program

Benefit, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson, restaurant

The Ann Arbor Farmers Market recently launched a new initiative to make shopping with market vendors easier for you, our chefs and the culinary community! The effort chefs put into into transforming raw farm-fresh ingredients into culinary works of art is immense. Therefore, the market wanted to help culinary professionals by streamlining the local food shopping experience.

A Watershed Moment for NE Michigan’s Regional Food System

Benefit, Environment, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Molly Stepanski

America’s highly productive food system is one of its beloved accomplishments. But the environment has paid a high price for this abundance, especially our rivers, streams, and lakes. In fact, according to the EPA’s National Water Quality Inventory Report, agriculture is considered to be “the most widespread source of impairment in the nation’s assessed lake acres.” Industrial agriculture is among the leading causes of water pollution in the United States today. Data indicates this method of food production often wastes large quantities of water, even when nearby communities are experiencing water shortages (check out California’s nut production dilemma).