Michigan Land Use Institute

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About Food & Farming

About Food & Farming

Taste the Local Difference

MLUI's Food & Farming team prioritizes fresh, healthy, and local food for everyone. Not only is locally produced food delicious, Michigan’s diverse food system offers a tremendous opportunity to create new jobs and spur economic growth. By investing in a local food economy, communities benefit from better tasting and healthier food, precious landscapes are maintained, and our local economy grows. 

Taste the Local Difference

Your guide to local food in northern Michigan.

Taste the Local Difference builds new markets for northwest Lower Michigan’s farmers by connecting them to shoppers, grocers, restaurants, and other food businesses.


Get Farming!

Farmer education

Get Farming! is your source for information, training, workshops and networking.

Healthy Food for All

Farm to School

Healthy Food for All connects schools, health programs, and families to fresh local food.

Food & Farming Staff

Diane Connors
Senior Policy Specialist and Healthy Food for All Coordinator
231-941-6584 ext. 712


Bill Palladino
Senior Policy Specialist, Taste the Local Difference
231-941-6584 ext. 709


Meghan McDermott
FoodCorps service member


Lianna Bowman
FoodCorps service member


By the year 2020, 20% of northwest Michigan’s food will be supplied by local growers and food entrepreneurs. This goal is shared by dozens of partners in the region, and has become the single unifying target driving all of the Institute’s actions in our food and farming program. When we achieve this goal, northwest Michigan will be the first in the country to do so, and the economic results will fundamentally change the conversation about the power of buying local.


• The Taste the Local Difference guide included more than 350 listings last year, and more than 90% of participating farmers said their sales increased as a direct result of TLD marketing.

• Get Farming workshops offered training in business, marketing, and farming to more than 300 participants.

• FoodCorps members reached more than 2,000 students, taught 464 lessons plans, and planted 13,000 square feet of school gardens, which means more healthy, local food in our schools.

• Northwest Michigan schools participating in Farm to School educational programs increased from just one in 2004, to more than 40 in 2012. 

Michigan Land Use Institute

148 E. Front Street, Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
p (231) 941-6584 
e comments@mlui.org