A Word on Waste: Part I

Find Local Food, Food Waste, Learn More, Mieko Diener

This article is part of a four-part series on buying, storing, preserving and composting foods to prevent waste.

Throwing out spoiled food is already a bummer, but many of us are unaware of the major impact food waste has on our environment and economy both locally and globally. Did you know that 40% of food produced in the US ends up as waste? There is a certain amount of spoilage that occurs at every stage of the food supply chain between production and plate, but in this country the biggest piece of that pie comes from consumers. Not only does the energy that went into producing, packaging and shipping that food go to waste, but when food ends up in a landfill it breaks down anaerobically and releases greenhouse gases. According to the UN, food loss and waste accounts for 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a lot considering the competition, aviation only contributes 1.4%.  The global cost of all this wasted food is a staggering $940 billion, around $161 billion in the US alone. That breaks down to around $2,000 a year per family. 

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.

5 Favorite Foodie Films

Alex Palzewicz, Books/Films, Eat Local, Food Waste, Learn More

We all turn to film and video for inspiration, escape, education and sometimes even in search of purpose. A well done film will take you on a journey and leave you a new person at the end. The following 5 Foodie Films (documentaries) will get you through the end of winter and keep you creative in the spring! There is no particular order or ranking, just five films that I chose for unique reasons.

Slow Traditions

Eat Local, Economy, Environment, farm-to-table, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Health, Kelly Wilson, Stories

For me, food has always been a source of connection, a tool to communicate love, and a way to pass on family traditions. Some of my most vivid memories involve shared meals and many dishes are connected to specific loved ones in my mind. For example, my mom is chicken, rice, and carrots, whereas my dad is graham crackers dipped in milk. Apple pie and sharp cheddar cheese bring to mind my grandmother. The foods we made on our first date, kimchi and sauerkraut are my partner. These dishes provide comfort and a reminder to slow down.

Food has always been an important part of my life; however, it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Italy that I really fell in love. We toured a Parmigiano Reggiano facility, learned about Balsamico di Modena on a small family farm, and tasted traditionally cured prosciutto. Specifically, all the foods we encountered were part of a movement to preserve culturally significant foods and their traditional production practices: Slow Food.

Culture, Collaboration, and Local Food

Alex Palzewicz, Beer, Event, farm-to-table, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food

When we look back through the history of festivals, events or gatherings related to farming, food, and harvests – you’ll find that each will have their own version or interpretation of what that celebration represents. From the ancient sacrifices in honor of Greek gods, to our modern-day hometown harvest festivals – you won’t find one occasion quite the same.  One contributing factor to those differences, is location. A harvest festival in Spain often highlights grapes, where here in Michigan we celebrate cherries and blueberries. Our geography and local climate largely determine when we hold these events and what they celebrate. Another important piece is the people. Throughout history cultural influences such as religion, art, politics, and business have shaped rituals that find their way into being. As time goes on, activities evolve, disappear, grow, and sometimes become honored by tradition. Many cultures mention in their own ways, the importance of coming together as a group, family or community and the vital social connection these moments bring.These same reasonings can be applied to the MQT Local Food Fest,

Meet our new Local Food & Events Intern : Maddy Baroli

Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Maddy Baroli

maddy 1Maddy is very excited to be our Local Food and Events Intern this summer! She had the chance to work closely with the team at Taste the Local Difference last year when she was serving as an Americorps VISTA for the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network.

Her favorite vegetable is Okra and she wishes someone in Northern Michigan would start a lentil farm already. When not representing TLD at Certified Local Food Events this summer, she will be working at Light of Day Organics tea farm on M-72, biking, dancing, or hanging out with goats wherever she can.

Stay tuned for more information about Maddy’s work this summer. Contact info@localdifference.org with questions.

Fighting Food Waste One Plate at a Time

Food Waste, Get Involved, Health, Kelly Wilson

Did you know that nearly 40% of the food produced in the United States ends up in the landfill? And about 95% of this discarded food ends up in landfills or combustion facilities where it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas production. If global food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China (1). Crazy, right?!

Funding for Local Food and Farms

Economy, Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved

As northern Michigan farmers work to build a sustainable, local-food economy, they need funding and other support to get started, expand current operation, build year-round growing capacity or establish new business models. USDA Rural Development, MSU Extension, Taste the Local Difference and the Food and Farming Network have teamed up with local sponsors and organizations to make it easier for farmers, growers and producers to find the help they need. The Funding Local Farms & Foods workshops will point local growers toward government agencies, non-profits and private lenders who can offer funding and other resources.

Establishing Roots : Local food and intimate dining make Grafted Root a Grand Blanc favorite

Cara Catallo, Dairy, Drinks, Edible WOW, Find Local Food, Southeast Michigan, Stories

Don’t blink, or you might miss The Grafted Root Eatery, on the edge of the Coach Stop shopping plaza near where South Saginaw Street meets Holly Road in Grand Blanc. Its understated exterior works for owner Michele Matthews, who likens the vibe to a speakeasy and would much prefer a secret knock to intrusive signage.

Become a Local Food Enthusiast

Economy, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Tricia Phelps

Did you know that your dollar is multiplied more than three times when you spend it at a local store, than by purchasing at a national chain? Plus, locally grown and produced food packs more of a nutritional punch and it travels fewer miles to your plate, making it better for you and for the planet. We’re just scratching the surface here when it comes to the true value of local food in our community. The benefits range from economics and social connection, to improving health and the environment.