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New Taste the Local Difference Guide Now Available!

Backed by new ‘Spend 10’ drive, booklet boosts local food, farm economy

May 19, 2011 |

  The 8th annual Taste the Local Difference farm and food guide lists hundreds of farms, restaurants, grocery stores, wineries, breweries, and other businesses that sell local products in northwest Lower Michigan.

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2011

Janice Benson, Taste the Local Difference Project Director
Michigan Land Use Institute
Phone: 231-941-6584 ext. 21 • Fax: 231-929-0937
Email: janice@mlui.org • Web site: www.mlui.org

Traverse City — The Michigan Land Use Institute today published its eighth annual Taste the Local Difference farm and food guide and launched its brand-new “Spend Ten Local Dollars” campaign, which urges Northwest Lower Michigan residents to pledge to buy local grown food products every week.

“This is an exciting time for our region.” said Janice Benson, Taste the Local Difference project director. “The guide helps people find local food—and combining that with a commitment by families to spend at least $10 each week on local food will significantly boost our local economy.”

The latest edition of the free, handy, pocket-sized guide is the largest ever. Its 104 pages list more than 260 local farms; 39 wineries, breweries and distilleries; 33 farmers markets; and 86 retail businesses and food artisans, all located in the 10-county region stretching from Manistee to the Mackinac Bridge.

Shoppers who want to “take the pledge” to spend $10 weekly on local food products can do so at localdifference.org/spend10.asp. The page keeps a running total of the number of people and businesses who have pledged, seasonal buying and recipe suggestions, and more.

The guide, which is also available in a searchable, online version, continues to play a crucial role in demonstrating to both residents and visitors that there are local farm products available year-round in this part of the state.

“Yes, we have a lot of great produce throughout the summertime,” Ms. Benson notes, “but we also have meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beverages, and much more that is available to us all year long.”

The online version of the newly updated Taste the Local Difference guide, which was first published by the Michigan Land Use Institute in 2004, is available at localdifference.org.

The print version is available at retail businesses, visitor centers, chambers of commerce, libraries, and farmers markets throughout the region, as well as at the Michigan Land Use Institute office, 148 E. Front Street, Suite 301, in downtown Traverse City. It is also available via phone or email requests, at 231-941-6584 ext. 21 or janice@mlui.org

Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa, located in Thompsonville, is the Presenting Sponsor for the entire Taste the Local Difference project this year.

The guide also enjoys strong support from many other Northern Michigan businesses.

The full list of 2011 Sponsors includes: Cherry Republic, Cherry Capital Foods, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Tom’s Food Market, Friske Orchards Farm Market, Hagerty, Higher Grounds Trading Company, Oryana Natural Foods Market, Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge, Black Star Farms, Fifth Third Bank, Trattoria Stella, and Grain Train Natural Foods Market.

Media sponsors include Edible Grande Traverse, Absolute Michigan, WTCM NewsTalk 580, 9&10/Fox 33 News, Interlochen Public Radio, and the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

For more information about the Taste the Local Difference guide or project, including the Spend 10 Campaign, contact Janice Benson at 231-941-6584, ext. 21 or at janice@mlui.org.

About the Institute
The Michigan Land Use Institute is an independent, nonprofit research, educational, and service organization founded in 1995. More than 3,000 households, businesses, and organizations have joined the Institute in support of its mission to establish an approach to economic development that strengthens communities, enhances opportunity, and protects Michigan's unmatched natural resources.

Michigan Land Use Institute

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