Michigan Land Use Institute

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Food, Farms & Health




When: October 10, 2014, 10 am until 4 pm

Where: Kirkbride Hall at the Grand Traverse Commons, Traverse City, Michigan

What: Food, Farms & Health brings together health practitioners, employers, school representatives and others interested in connecting the dots between health care, wellness, and locally grown food.


Learn. Connect. Act.

Brainstorm, network, and plan with others around using local food to promote good health. Come if you are a:

  • Health care practitioner

  • Hospital or school administrator

  • Obesity, diabetes or other wellness advocate

  • School leader, teacher or PTO member

  • Public health agency or clinic sta­ff member

  • Wellness or human resource offcial

  • Poverty reduction organization

  • Farmer or food distributor

  • Funders interested in local food economy

  • Elected or appointed offcial

  • Related community resource person


9:30 am –  10 am
Coffee & registration Light breakfast provided

10 am – 10:30 am
Dr. Pat Friedli, MD, Medical Director, Munson Medical Center Healthy Weight Center
Kathryn Colasanti, Michigan Good Food Coordinator, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

10:40 am – 11:20 am
Morning Lightning Talks

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Morning Breakouts

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm
Local Food Lunch
Root Veggie Ratatouille or Thai Coconut Curry

1:45 pm – 2:30 pm
Afternoon Lightning Talks

2:40 pm – 3:40 pm
Afternoon Breakouts

3:45 pm – 4 pm

4 pm – 5 pm
Networking Reception Hors d’oeurves and beverages

Lightning Talks and Breakouts

Purchasing for Community Institutions
Grant Fletcher, System Director Nutrition & Retail Services, Bronson Healthcare Group
Maureen Husek, Director of Nutrition & Retail Services, Beaumont Hospital

Learn the different ways in which the 1,000-bed Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, the 400-bed Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo and 218-bed Bronson in Battle Creek have made purchasing locally or Michigan grown farm products a part of their hospital identities and how they do business.

Building Sustainablity in Farm to School
Education and School Gardens
Cathy Meyer-Looze, TBAISD specialist
Meghan McDermott, MLUI FoodCorps Service Member
A local parent was surprised to learn her daughter knew all about kale. The leafy green was served in school lunch; and lessons in the classroom and garden helped kale become familiar to nearly 2,000 students across the region. Learn and share ideas with Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District and the Michigan Land Use Institute about how to make farm to school lessons and school gardens systemic and sustainable in busy schools.

Farm to Senior
Brandon Seng, Director of Food Programs, Goodwill Industries of Northwest Michigan 
Christine Scott, RN, Friendship Center in Petoskey
Innovative efforts in northern Michigan invest in the local economy while putting fresh, locally grown food on the plates of senior citizens. Goodwill Industries in Traverse City has developed a program that puts scratch-cooked local fruits, vegetables and even meat its Meals on Wheels program. The Friendship Center in Petoskey launched a pilot project in partnership with an area farm to add fresh local salad greens to the salad bar in its congregate meals.

Fruit and Vegetable Prescriptions
Sharon P. Sheldon, MPH, Program Administrator, Washtenaw County Public Health
Ariane Reister, MPH, RD, Program Coordinator, Washtenaw County Public Health

What if health providers wrote prescriptions that said “eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and call me in the morning?” Learn about the Washtenaw County Public Health’s Prescription for Health, among the first programs in the country to use the persuasive power of a fruit and vegetable prescription to help people make nutritious dietary changes. It’s become an inspiration for other programs across the nation.

Hospitals as Models for Healthy, Local Eating
Lisa McDowell, MS, RD, CNSD, Director of Nutrition, St. Joseph Mercy Health System
Laura McCain, RD, Sodexo Food Service Employee, Munson Medical Center

Hospitals across the country are connecting the dots between local food, preventive health, healing and being good models for healthy eating. Learn about Munson’s Meet Your Farmer Lunches and St. Joseph’s signature farm that has become a source of food in the cafeteria and a farmers market in the lobby; and is a clinical educational tool for families of overweight children and others.

10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms
Tom Freitas, Food Service Director, Traverse City Area Public Schools
Diane Conners, Senior Policy Specialist, Michigan  Land Use Institute

Schools have extremely tight food budgets, with only 20 to 30 cents per meal to spend on fruits and vegetables. Learn about a regional pilot project, patterned after other models nationwide, that supports school food service in buying more locally grown food, and initial results. Discuss ways to make this project sustainable here and statewide.

Employee Wellness
Melissa Socia, Wellness Coordinator, Hagerty Insurance
Andrea Romeyn, Providence Farm, Antrim County

Learn how Hagerty Insurance in Traverse City and Charlevoix Hospital have provided opportunities for employees to order fresh products in season from area farms and to get deliveries made to or near their worksites as an employee wellness benefit. What other models are possible, including for small and downtown employers and even through health insurance companies?

Healthy Food for All
Brandon Seng, Director of Food Programs, Goodwill Industries of Northwest Michigan
No one likes to see good food go to waste. Yet farmers at times leave fruit on the trees or plow vegetables into the ground because there is a surplus in the market or for other reasons. Learn about a new initiative that is exploring whether a food pantry purchasing collaborative could be created to purchase excess products at low cost but pay the farmer the labor costs for harvesting. It meets the needs of neighbors who are hungry while also valuing the farmer.

Michigan Land Use Institute

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