Where are the young people? It’s a question I have been asked a lot this past year as Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference.
To get answers, I turned to an organization called 40 Below in Marquette County. The group was created in 2010 as a way for professionals under the age of 40 to come together through networking and professional development opportunities. The group hosts fun events, puts on conferences and encourages young adults to volunteer in the community.
The holidays are here and it is time to start the search for your real Christmas tree. The good news is, in Michigan you have several great options to choose from when looking for that perfect tree. Michigan growers produce a wide variety of tree species, in fact, more than any other state. When visiting a choose and cut farm or a retail lot, you may find trees that are soft to the touch like a Frasier Fir, blue in color like a Blue Spruce, or trees that smell like citrus called a Concolor Fir. So, whether you like a fir or a spruce, or and evergreen or citrus smell, we have you covered!
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.
It’s a Wednesday morning at the Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace and the room is fragrant with fresh, cut flowers overflowing in buckets. There’s dahlias from Luella Acres, zinnias from Fresh Cut Detroit, and eucalyptus from Seeley Farms. Now in its second year, the Michigan Flower Growers’ Cooperative is creating a new model for local flower growers to sell to florists and other wholesale buyers.
This summer marks the 20th anniversary of a Southeastern Michigan favorite with a loyal follow – ing: the Common Grill in Chelsea. Before the doors opened on Main Street in July 1991, “ I estimated that we could appeal to a 10-mile radius,” says owner and Executive Chef Craig Common. Chelsea was a bit sleepier than it is today, and the Purple Rose Theater—which eventually grew to draw people to the town from around the country—had just been launched by actor Jeff Daniels in February of that year. It was Daniels’ father, Bob Daniels, owner of Chelsea Lumber, who approached Common about starting a restaurant for the theater crowd.
In 1946, Tom and Eva Deering founded Deering’s Market on 11th St in Traverse City. Originally, it served as a small corner market specializing in meat products near downtown. Fifteen years later, in 1961, Tom’s Food Market’s first full sized grocery store was built on the west side of town. Since then, Tom’s Food Markets has grown into six full size grocery stores throughout the region. Despite their expansion, Tom’s has continued its focus on supporting the Traverse City area community.
On behalf of the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University, I’m writing to invite you to sponsor, exhibit or advertise at the 2018 Michigan Good Food Summit on October 22, 2018. This year’s Summit will take place on October 22nd at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University.
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.
Senior Resources in Benzie County is committing to the community they serve in new ways. The Gathering Place is working with Taste the Local Difference to improve mealtime at their center. Thanks to funds from the Building Healthy Communities grant, this partnership is catering meals to meet nutritional needs of older adults while simultaneously incorporating more fresh, local produce into meal time.
The 2018 Southeast Michigan Magazine Release Party was full of friendship and community. The Beer Garden at Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse was buzzing with bees enjoying the vegetable beds and friends from the local food community celebrating another year of hard work towards strengthening the local food system. I had the pleasure of speaking with someone who has been supporting local food in Southeast Michigan for more than 30 years, Corrine Sikorski, General Manager of the Ypsilanti Food Co-op, who agrees that TLD has really helped to create connections and build community among local food activists and supporters in this area.