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MQT Local Food Fest 2018 Recap

Alex Palzewicz, Benefit, Event, Find Local Food

MQT Local Food Fest Statistics

•7 Northern Michigan University Hospitality Management Alumni Chefsmff4

First Place & People’s Choice Rory Shimp of Spiaggia in Chicago
MAD Rabbits Farm, Daggett

Second Place Colin Campbell of POUR Kitchen + Bar
Thill’s Fish House, Marquette

Third Place Angela Verburg of Harley’s Lounge at the Ramada InnSwanzy, Gwinn & Seeds and Spores Farm, Marquette

•3 NMU Hospitality Management Faculty

•5 NMU Hospitality Management Alumni Coordinators

•10 NMU Student Volunteers

•3 Outstanding Community Volunteers

•7 Judges

•Over 10 indispensable Sponsorsmff2

•Over $500 spent on a UP Food Exchange Purchase from UP Farmers

•Over $1,100 spent on local food via direct farmer & producer purchases

•11 UP Harvest Basket Entries raising a total of $615

•$1,100 spent on local live entertainment

•$400 spent on other local specific businesses

•$150 spent on local decor; flowers & produce

•Purchases made from over 20 local farmers, and 6 local producers

•14 Different Locally Focused Chef Dishes

•Over 30 Door Prizes from Local Businesses

•Over 200 Attendees – plus kids!

$1,850 Raised! – THANK YOU!

I had this vision for the MQT Local Food Fest, and that vision is not mff1what I saw this past Saturday at Barrel + Beam Brewery, in Marquette, MI. What I saw when I took a moment to step onto a hay bale and look over the crowd was so much grander. Since I have become a part of the Taste the Local Difference Team, I’ve had the honor of traveling and working with some incredible people including chefs, farmers, local business, different organizations, health professionals, brewers, and everyday people who are passionate about local food. This past Saturday, I got them all in the same room. I wish I could write a novel so I could tell every small story and highlight every relationship, because each one give me more and more confidence in the success of Local Food Systems here in the UP.

I think the most important message of our event wasn’t just to support local food, but to honor and respect the people and careers connected to food. I started raising animals at the age of 5, and started working at a local resort at the age of 16. I don’t mention this because I want to prove that I have experience, I mention this because since then, I’ve been a first hand witness of the struggles, successes, ups and downs of people who work in careers surrounding food. Late nights washing dishes, long days planting in the sun, hauling hundreds of pounds of produce to and from market, 16 hour days all on your feet, high stress situations – and these are just some of the experiences people in our industries encounter daily. These situations will always be a part of life for many of us – but the point I want to make is that healthy and delicious food, purchased from local farmers, producers, and chefs is to be honored and respected. A lot of work goes into something that we then place into our body – a very intimate experience and decision that affects your own health and wellbeing, along with the wealth of your own community.

I am proud to say we raised over $1,800 at our event, and that $300 will go to sponsor a Garden Bed through Partridge Creek Farm, a non-profit farm working on Farm-to-School programs and community garden projects in Ishpeming. We are also excited to donate $150 to the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market Power of Produce Program. Monetarily, our event was a success, but more importantly we were able to get some important conversations started and some crucial connections made.

Personally my favorite part was how this event helped put a little glimmer of light back into the eyes of people that mean so much to me and the Local Food Movement. I saw so many smiles, hugs, high fives, so much teamwork, collaboration and most of all celebration. So thankIMG_3364 you again to our amazing sponsors: Ojibwa Casino, Marquette Food Co-op, Radio Results Network, Barrel + Beam, NMU College of Technology and Occupational Sciences, NMU Alumni Association, UP Health & Happiness Magazine, Travel Marquette, the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, the Marquette Chamber of Commerce, Econo Foods and last but not least – Taste the Local Difference for all your support, and helping us make our event a success.

Stay tuned for details on next year!

Cheers,

AP

Alex Palzewicz is the UP Local Food Coordinator. Contact her at alex@localdifference.org

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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,

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Collaboration in the Upper Peninsula: Four the Water

Alex Palzewicz, Drinks, Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved

I remember how excited I was to first see the ocean when I was younger. It was an experience that I had been missing out on my whole life, something others write about in poetic ways. When I finally got the chance to make it to the eastern shore and see the ocean – the moment was a bit flat. Although it’s beauty was undeniable, I didn’t find myself as moved as I had anticipated. It didn’t feel any more epic than my day to day life around The Great Lakes. I guess that must have been it; although unique and breathtaking in its own way, the ocean experience had been damped by my relationship with Lake Superior.

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Wasted: How UP Establishments Feed the Worms

Alex Palzewicz, Economy, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Food Waste, Get Involved, Stories

In the United States, we waste 40% of food produced, and an alarming 90% of that goes to the landfill, where it emits methane gas which is a mere 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. If that statistic doesn’t do anything for you, then how about that the average American spends about $1,500 a year on food they are just going to throw away.

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Looking Ahead to the Growing Season

Alex Palzewicz, Find Local Food, Retail

Michigan winters, particularly those here in the UP region, don’t allow for much production. Even those individuals who have been able to bridge the gap with season extension find themselves unable to do much in the blistering months of January and February. So, what are our local farmers up to at times like these? Catching up on the Netflix binging they missed? Creating sleep patterns that almost replicate those of hibernation? Read books by the fire, hot chocolate in hand?