The Cream of the Crop: Amish Country in NE Michigan

Dairy, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski

Michigan has long been an epicenter of Amish settlement, with the first establishments dating back to 1895. Today, Michigan’s Amish population numbers approximately 11,000, with the state’s 86 church districts strewn over 35 communities across the state. One of the oldest of these settlements is in Mio, Oscoda County. Remnants of Mio’s logging industry left this land perforated by stumps. But, the original Amish community at Mio was founded in 1900 by Ohioan pioneers that used this to their advantage. According to historian David Luthy, “Few, if any settlements grew as rapidly as did the one in Oscoda County.” Luthy say this is because “local land agents attracted both Old Order Amish and more progressive Amish-Mennonites” to a region flushed with land available for $2-5/acre.

What’s our Why?

Emma Beauchamp, Environment, Learn More

We all have a stake in our food system and environment. Since 2004, Taste the Local Difference has continued to change the culture around local food by promoting the importance of buying and sourcing locally. Each year, we feature thousands of Michigan farmers, brewers, restaurants, local grocers, and more in our 2 magazine-style annual Guides to Local Food. More than that, we work directly with these businesses to excel and to improve Michigan’s local food economy. Our work aims to get more local food sold.

Collaboration Builds a Stronger Food System

Economy, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson

What do you think of when you hear the word “co-op”? Most people will likely envision a small health food store or perhaps their local credit union. However, these are just part of a myriad number of businesses that follow a cooperative structure.

Redefining Leadership

Jobs, Traverse City, Tricia Phelps

Imagine a leader of a successful company. They’re probably assertive, right? Have indisputable self confidence, maybe erring on the side of ego, and often lead the company with an iron fist.

It’s true, a lot of businesses have leaders that resemble this description, but one thing is likely – the leader you imagined was probably a man. For generations, women have faced barriers to obtaining careers with a leadership role. Even when they ultimately reach the position, women still encounter a double-edged sword based on the belief that leaders take one single form.

Understanding Economic Impacts of Local Food

Economy, Environment, Find Local Food, Kathryn Colasanti, Learn More, Megan Phillips Goldenberg

As awareness of local food grows, more people are becoming interested in understanding the economic impacts of local food systems. While many of us may be motivated to buy local food by values like preserving farmland, supporting small businesses, and expanding access to fresh, healthy food, these goals are economic development goals. Economic growth is a much narrower measure centered on increases in jobs and sales, or monetary value. To be sure, economic growth is a limited way of judging success, but there are times when it is helpful to justify food system initiatives in terms of economic growth to decision-makers like funders or local government officials.

Big Ideas/Micro Loans— Spring 2017 Micro Loan Program

Economy, Get Involved, Guest Post, Learn More, Mindy Taylor

This is Grain Train‘s second year of partnering with Crosshatch to provide micro-loans for local farmers or food related businesses. We’re quite honored to be a part of this program. Good food/local food has been our mantra for the entire existence of the Grain Train Natural Foods Co-op.

Edible Gifts for the Holiday

Find Local Food, Retail, Stories, Tricia Phelps

By Tricia Phelps

Local edible gifts are easy to find if you know where to look. They make great gifts for food lovers near-and-far and can be personalized for nearly anyone in your life. Northern Michigan has access to numerous local, high-quality food producers whose products are unique and widely sought-after. As the gift-giving season is upon us, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few local businesses that make edible gift-giving easier than ever before.

Your Holiday Foods and Your Waist Line

Infographic, Learn More

In this unusual Infographic from the folks at Fitbie.com, we see a standard collection of holiday temptations, alongside a visual reminder of how much you should really eat.  We all love to eat over the holidays.  This infographic should give you a reference point for just how far you indulge yourself.