7 Tips to Make the Most of your CSA Share

Eat Local, Environment, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Kelly Wilson, Local Ingredients

Spring has officially sprung! As you shake off the winter haze, now is the perfect time to start planning thinking about where your food is coming from this summer. Which community farmers market will you attend? Will you plant your own garden? Should you join a CSA? There are so many options for accessing local food!

Investing in Local Pollinators

Benefit, Environment, Get Involved

Pollinators may appear small, but they have a massive impact in our ecosystem. These buzzing bees and native pollinators are a necessary, yet often forgotten, component of our food system. When habitat needs are met, these fundamental creatures can produce the fruits we love, and many of the seeds that provide our nourishing foods. We need their help as much as they need ours. Given the significant decline in bee populations, it is a crucial time for farms to create healthy habitats, food, and refuge for our pollinators.

Adding Local to the School Lunch Menu with 10 Cents A Meal

Eat Local, Economy, Environment, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson

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.

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,

Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, restaurant

You either sink or swim under the grueling demands of a busy professional kitchen. Chad Edwards has been cooking in Gaylord restaurants since age 14, and was the chef for two establishments in the city before turning 21. After years of rigor and practice, Edwards’ was swimming full bore on October 28, 2010, when he opened The Bearded Dogg Lounge. And at this colorful cafe, “you may sit in a booth made from old doors or at the bar crafted from maple flooring from the local nunnery, at a gathering table, in a loveseat, or at any one of several antique dining tables.” You can tell a lot of love and ingenuity has been put into this place. And it’s not just the quirky, hand-hewn seating and masterful plating of food. It’s the flourishing garden in the adjacent field constructed and tended by Chad and his father that accents the menu’s favorites. It’s the fact that Edwards wants to create a line of his own bottled salad dressings and brews the restaurant’s Doggweiser Blonde Ale. It’s the fact that in northeastern Michigan, Chad Edwards is pioneering in an old way of doing things again.

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.

Grillin’ for Food Gatherers: A Picnic with a Purpose

Benefit, Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Sara McDonnell, Southeast Michigan

You’re invited to the 29th annual Grillin’ for Food Gatherers, a family-friendly community picnic with a serious mission. Grillin’ benefits Food Gatherers’ work to alleviate hunger where we live. As a Grillin’ guest, you can help your neighbors struggling with food insecurity.

Get a job with Ownership Potential

Food Trucks, Get Involved, Jobs, Tricia Phelps

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!

Pets Naturally: Not All Treats Are Created Equal

Andrea Margelis, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Retail, Specialty Producers, Stories, Traverse City

As pet parents, we want to provide our furry family members with their best possible life. When it comes to choosing the best diet for our dogs, we research excessively and get advice from our trusted veterinarians, however, sometimes the treats we purchase lack proper attention when it comes to ingredients. Pet parents tend to grab any box off the shelf at the grocery or pet store without taking the time to read the ingredient label. Many treats contain artificial ingredients and are not fit for human consumption, so why would we feed these to our family members? If you can’t eat them yourself, your dog most likely shouldn’t either.