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Moving U.P. Food Businesses Online

We are excited to announce that Taste the Local Difference has partnered with the Upper Peninsula Small Business and Development Center (SBDC) to offer 20 U.P. food and farming businesses online sales and marketing support! 

Upper Peninsula small businesses, like the rest of the state, have been thrown a lot of curveballs, to put it lightly, this year.  Through funding from the CARES act, Laura Marohnic, U.P. SBDC Regional Director, and her team have been able to direct these funds towards TLD Technical Service Support for local food businesses. These services include support in setting up ecommerce, website design, online marketing expertise, newsletter template creation, SEO optimization consultation, social media management and more. 

“What I think is most important and unique about what we’ve been doing for businesses through these partnerships is also creating standard operating procedures, training manuals and simple templates that we can give back to the businesses as tangible tools.” says Alex Palzewicz, U.P. Local Food Coordinator and one of the main TLD Tech Team members. “I think it’s important for the longevity of companies, and I also hope it’ll lead to job creation within the businesses. Marketing takes a lot of work – but not always a lot of money, and in our time with businesses we hope to empower them to make the most of affordable or free tools.”

“I’m so excited to have an opportunity to work one-on-one and support U.P. businesses specifically,” continues Palzewicz who has been assisting cafes, restaurants and farmers around the state since April of 2020 in moving sales online. “It also pairs well with my role as Market Manager for the U.P. Food Exchange Online Marketplace.” The exchange is another possible market for farms and food producers looking to sell wholesale to institutions. 

Out of the 20 businesses, the first 11 to receive these online marketing support services are  small farms from the following counties: Chippewa, Dickinson, Delta, Schoolcraft, Marquette, Baraga, Houghton and Gogebic. The additional 9 recipients include restaurants and food producers. 

Taste the Local Difference has helped promote food and farming entrepreneurs in the Upper Peninsula for over four years now since partnering with the U.P. Food Exchange farm directory. This opportunity through SBDC furthers their mission of creating a stronger local food system in Michigan.  

Palzewicz concludes, “I hope this support can help businesses thoughtfully grow their markets, and I’m so excited to see so many farms included. Stronger farms across the Upper Peninsula, means increased food security for our communities.”

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Taste the Local Difference is Michigan’s Local Food Marketing Agency and Media Company. Their mission is to educate consumers about the value of local food, and support food and farming entrepreneurs in building successful, well-connected, and thoughtful businesses. Learn more at localdifference.org

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