MIFFS Conference: Adding Tools to your Tool Box

Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson, Learn More

Conference season is upon us! With so many food and farming conferences between now and March, it’s often difficult to decide which to attend. If you’re free February 9th, I’d highly recommend attending the Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) 16th annual Michigan Family Farms Conference. This conference provides beginning, small-scale, and culturally diverse farmers a chance to network and learn. At past conferences, I shared conversation with other small-scale farmers, learned new skills from talented presenters, and left energized and motivated for another season of farming.

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.

Get your Farm Business Growing in 2019 with the Alcona Regional Farm Conference!

Emma Beauchamp, Event, Get Involved

Come on down to the Northeast Michigan Alcona Regional Farm Conference! On January 18-19, this conference will bring together seasoned growers, as well as those starting a new career in agriculture and members of the local food movement of the region. Get your farm business growing for 2019!

6 Winter Conferences Every Michigan Farmer Should Consider Attending

Emma Beauchamp, Event, Get Involved, Learn More

With the snow beginning to fly, it’s the perfect time to attend farm and business conferences to prepare for 2019. These six meetings and conferences are great ways to network with fellow farmers and get excited for the next growing season.

A Farmer’s Diary: Beginning Farmer Institute, Part 2

Eat Local, Environment, Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, Stories

Our second session with the 2018-19 National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) took us into the country’s heart of organic produce, the salad bowl of America, the sunny Salinas Valley, California. Again, we were the last to arrive late at night, and a bit jet-lagged. For the first day of training, we participated in a hands-on learning session, hosted in partnership with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), an organization dedicated to creating economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education. ALBA creates farming opportunities while providing education and demonstration of organic farming, conservation, and habitat restoration. About 35 farmers operate their small organic farm at ALBA on an annual basis.

Grow Benzie Food Truck Continues at Sara Hardy Farmers Market

Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Food Trucks, Guest Post, Loghan Call, Traverse City

Taste the Local Difference is excited to announce that The Grow Benzie Food Truck will continue brunch at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 8 – Noon for the month of October! Stop by the market to enjoy hyper local, vegan brunch featuring produce from many of the vendors who sell at the market, including: Loma Farm, Lakeview Hill Farm, Second Spring Farm, Heartwood Forest Farm. With a strong commitment to sourcing local, 100% of the produce is sourced locally and 95% of all ingredients within Michigan!

As the season changes, Chef Loghan will have delicious hot menu items to keep you warm and satisfied as you browse the market! Be on the lookout for brunch burritos, hot soups, spiced cider, Higher Grounds coffee and their very popular tacos in the coming weeks!

Chef Loghan Call is the owner and regenerative foods chef of Planted Cuisine. He has been working closely with Grow Benzie for the last several months and has become well known for his hyperlocal, plant-based fare. 

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

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.”

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.

Charlevoix Farmers Market offers Evening Markets at the Library

Emma Beauchamp, Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Local Ingredients, Proteins

With the change in the season, comes a change at the Charlevoix Farmers Market! Beginning on October 11th, the Market will switch its location and time to the Charlevoix Public Library at 220 Clinton St. from 3-6pm. Despite the change in time and place, the Market will continue to showcase local producers and be a vibrant event for the whole community.