The Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG) has been instrumental in facilitating Taste the Local Difference’s growth in NE Michigan over the last three years. This has ultimately resulted in not only building higher demand for local food in the region, but in people realizing the true potential of Sunrise Side ingenuity and innovation. This entrepreneurship is a key factor for the survival of small-scale farming and healthy local food systems in an ever-changing and increasingly complex global economy.
Meet Corey Standen of Standen Acres in Alpena! On their 40-acre farm, Corey, his wife, Carrie, and their two kids raise pigs on pasture. Standen Acres use a rotational grazing system to ensure the health of their land and animals.
Being the second most diverse agricultural producer in the nation, Michigan has no shortage of specialty crops. In fact, lake effect microclimates are generally the most ideal for growing cherries, apples, and other stone fruits you’ve seen bolstering the economy of northwest Michigan for decades. However, over the years, young people have relocated from Northeast Michigan, family farms have gone corporate, and jobs have disappeared. The Huron Shores Local Food Coalition wants to bring the community together to overcome the obstacles in place and restore the prosperity to Northeast Michigan.
Farm to Fork Alcona will be hosting the Alcona Regional Farm Conference – Growing for Profit in Northeast Michigan Saturday, February 10th. Local farmers will be able to take advantage of two breakout sessions, one addressing critical info for business development such as how to measure the financial success of their farm; how to write a business plan and obtain credit; how to work more productively with state agencies; how to become MAEAP certified; how to raise livestock for sale; and how to sell produce beyond farmers markets. Come hear success stories from Leeseberg Farms, Cook Family Farm, Standen Acres, Presque Isle Farm, and the Wandering Winds Farm.
In our 2017 Guide to Local Food in Northern Michigan, we profiled Alpena in Northeastern Michigan. Now, it’s Cheboygan’s time to shine. We talked with a few farms/businesses that are driven by making local food more accessible to their community.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them…. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Some may argue there’s no greater combo than pairing a bucolic bike ride with a glass of wine (or two) when you reach your destination. I’ll do you one (or a few) better….how about biking to a vineyard in northeastern Michigan and being greeted with a cornucopia of wines, a pop-up food bar created by a local chef, and a tour of the almost 15 year old vines with Thunder Bay Winery and vineyard owners? Well, look no further: Tour De Vine with Harborside Cycle and Sport has become an annual event to celebrate just outside of Alpena, in pastoral Ossineke, a place that has become surprisingly fruitful for Michigan grown grapes.