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.
Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the US and a national leader in the cultivation of apples, asparagus, blueberries, tart cherries, green beans, dry beans, potatoes and squash. Despite our rich produce production, most Michiganders still do not meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and 32% of our children are overweight or obese.
Fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of good health and lifelong health patterns are often established in childhood. Exposure to healthy habits at an early age can encourage long term health. One of the best places for this positive exposure to occur is in the school setting. Fortunately, a statewide pilot program, 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms, is supporting schools in infusing more fresh, Michigan grown produce into their menus.
Elberta is a beautiful, quiet village nestled between Lake Michigan and Betsie Bay. It sits just a mile down the road from Frankfort, one of northern Michigan’s hottest growing destinations. And this just in — its home to an incredible business opportunity you’ve got to hear about!
Community can often be a word people just toss around, but when the community literally owns your business, there is no taking it lightly. Oryana Community Co-op was an idea devised on the back porch of a home in Traverse City. It came from a small group of passionate community members looking to start a buying club and have control over where their food came from. That buying club started in 1973, and is now a 10,000 square foot, $17 million-a-year business that still lives by the founding principles of quality, accountability, sustainability, and localism.
Darren Mercier didn’t imagine he’d be spearheading the effort to establish a natural food cooperative. But, when he moved to Iron River on the western border of the U.P. seven years ago, he and his wife missed the easy access to the healthy foods they were used to eating. The Merciers aren’t the only people in Iron River who want more healthy, organic, and local options. More than 50 people have already become members of The Co-op of Iron County before the doors have opened and many people have told Darren when the store is open, they plan to become members as well.
The Oakland County Farmers’ Market has been bringing good food to Oakland County for nearly 100 years. Originally located in downtown Pontiac, the market first opened in 1922. Thirty one years later (1953), the market moved to its current location a few miles away in Waterford. The market still exists in this location and is currently operated by Oakland County Parks and Recreation.
Breakaway Cafe just celebrated its first birthday, and as any parents of new babies would tell you – I’m exhausted. But as those same parents would tell you – I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Over 14% of the population is food insecure in the 11 SE Michigan counties TLD serves. In the heart of Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town District, a unique coffee and tap house is helping to change that.
Cultivate Coffee and Tap House opened their doors in 2015 with the mission to end hunger (locally and globally) by 2030 and do good in their community and the world. To accomplish this mission, the non-profit focuses on the core values of Craft, Community, Cause.
Two winters ago I spent an entire hour updating my star ratings on Netflix to dial in my preferences.
It was worth my time. Like driving to the U.P., or rising early to exercise. At first it seems daunting, but soon you’re saying, “I can’t wait to do THAT again!”
As spring unfolds in the Upper Peninsula, seedlings have been growing in hoop houses, greenhouses and now fields to prepare for the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market opening day on May 20th. Many farmers markets in the UP do not open until June or even July, but Myra Zyburt, the market manager, explained they are able to open in May because there are enough farmers using season extension techniques that have produce that they are ready to sell.