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What does local mean to you?

On Saturday, March 16th, I presented My Local Food Relationship at Northern Michigan University’s TEDx. (Editor’s note: link to video is coming soon!)

Here’s what didn’t make the cut:

Local Effects

The nutritional benefits of local food are seen in in two main ways:  Access to healthy food and enhanced nutrition security. This means we can use our local food system to make more foods grown in our regions available to those in need. Next, we can increase this access though the work we do at TLD and with community partners helping source farm direct to worksites, hospitals and schools. This can increase the economic stability of these local food sources, giving [regions] more nutrition security.  With this approach we will all have the ability to eat and thus improve the nutrition density of our daily diets.” A direct quote from friend and co-worker Paula Martin, who is not only our TLD Community Health Coordinator but also drove all the way to the Upper Peninsula to attend the 2018 MQT Local Food Fest!

Defining Local

Local has multiple definitions, but the idea is that you make the best choice. Some items can be purchased from next door, other are from a few counties over or below the bridge — I’ll admit to eating Wisconsin cheese my entire life. Daniel Rutz, co-owner of Everyday Wines & Zephyr Winebar + Café shared an example that I love, saying, “it’s like a rubber band.” Depending on the ingredient, you may have to stretch what local means to you a little bit this way or that way, within limits. This gets back to the importance in making more educated decisions as consumers. Every dollar we spend on food is a vote which impacts on the world around us.


Chefs (& Farmers) will always be the most passionate people I’ve known. They are constantly making positive strides changing the way we eat and preserving our environment. Michelin Star Chefs, like Rene Redzepi, are serving up regional cuisine focused around the environment, including foraged foods we don’t traditionally see on the menu. Leading the way as a farm-to-table chef, Dan Barber, redefines a chef’s role in the ingredients, helping farmers breed and produce more delicious and efficient food. Moreover, Chefs in our own communities are also making a difference. For example, Zach Schneider of Les Cheneaux Culinary School andAustin Fure of The Marq both make local a priority in their respective businesses.

A huge shout out to the students team that organized this year’s TED x NMU experience! It was an honor to be a part, and an awesome opportunity to shout from the rooftops about local food!

Alex Palzewicz is the UP Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference. She has been dreaming of the color green all winter and is looking to volunteer on some UP farms this summer in exchange for some groceries!  E-mail her at: [email protected]

Get the delicious carrot salad recipe Alex deomonstrated during her talk here.

Find more great local food stories here.

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  in Alex Palzewicz, Eat Local, Economy, Environment, Event, Get Involved