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,
Maddy 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
Travel is in my future for 2018. My food and wine-seeking radar is taking me to a destination that I have only dreamed about: South America. When planning a trip in the spring, I always try to make it a warm get away and going to South America at the end of March is like our September, so it should be warm and sunny. I am taking 14 hardy souls who have also never been to South America. I have actually never been south of the Equator and we will be traveling to almost the South Pole!
Restaurant Week is back in Ann Arbor, January 14 – 19, 2018. This semi-annual event celebrates the incredible Ann Arbor dining scene and allows patrons to experience the wide range of dining options across the city. New this year, Ann Arbor Restaurant Week has partnered with Taste the Local Difference and area farmers to bring Michigan produce to the table in January. Search for the Taste the Local Difference logo to identify restaurants that are making an extra effort to source locally.
For the most up to date list of participating restaurants, menus and more visit
Kelly Wilson, is a farmer, registered dietitian, and TLD’s SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator. In 2018, she is looking forward to running her first ultramarathon and hiking in Big Bend National Park.
When the calendar pages flip to a new year, many of of us feel motivated to wipe the slate clean and re-focus on our health. As you contemplate what changes to make, forget quick fixes and fad diets and take it back to the basics to create a long-term, balanced habits.
Looking for a way to shop local this holiday season? Check out our holiday gift guide and support Michigan producers and growers this season.