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Acknowlegements & Regional Directory

Across Michigan local food gets cooking

March 26, 2009 | By Patty Cantrell
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Reported and Written By:
Patty Cantrell

Program Director, Michigan Land Use Institute
Food and Society Policy Fellow

Edited By:
Jim Dulzo
Managing Editor

Designed By:
Jane Kowieski

Design and Production Coordinator


February 2009

See the Local Difference: Regional food systems become essential ingredient for Michigan's future was researched, written, and published by the Michigan Land Use Institute. It was made possible by the Food and Society Policy Fellowship Program, support from the Sysco Corporation, and a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Management Program, which is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

Statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.


Local food activity is sprouting up everywhere across the state as a broad range of community interests – from health care professionals to economic development agencies – get involved.

Below is a list of key contacts in different regions of Michigan that can help you get connected. These contacts represent just some of what’s going on all around the state. Start with them to find your way to people, partners, and projects that make sense for you.

Northern Michigan

Chippewa County Extension
Farmers market development, hoophouse demonstrations, and other projects in the eastern U.P. Contact Chippewa County Extension Director Jim Lucas at

Northern Lakes Economic Alliance
Farm business counseling, classes, and collaboration. Contact Wendy Wieland at

Sunrise Food Coalition
Contact volunteer organizer Brian Botkin, brianjbotkin@gmail.com

Taste the Local Difference
A 10-county network organized by the Traverse City-based Michigan Land Use Institute. See the project’s searchable database of more than 300 farms, restaurants, grocers and others offering local foods at

Mid Michigan

Allen Neighborhood Center
Neighborhood farmers markets, youth entrepreneurship, hoophouse demonstrations, and other projects. Contact Joan Nelson at

Flint Farmers Market
Check out this hub for finding local food and others to work with:

The Garden Project
Provides gardening equipment and other support for community gardens. Contact Anne Rauscher at

MSU Student Organic Farm
Organic farming certificate program, community supported agriculture farm, and hoophouse research and demonstration. More at

Saginaw Farmers Market
Find your way to local food and community connections through the Saginaw Farmers Market at

Sweetwater Local Foods Market
A farmers market with a mission and a growing network of producers, consumers, and supporters. More at

Southwest Michigan

Fair Food Matters
A network of local food promoters and projects in the Kalamazoo area. More at

Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council
This multifaceted group produces a guide to local foods, events, research and more. Start at

Mixed Greens at the Blandford Nature Center
Creating edible schoolyards and demonstration farming:

Van Buren County Extension
Beginning farmer program including peer-to-peer support and matched savings accounts. Contact Julie Pioch at

Southeast Michigan

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Urban agriculture, small-scale farming for job development and food security in Detroit. Contact Malik Yakini at

Detroit Garden Resource Program Collaborative
A network of more than 500 backyard and community gardens in Detroit (
http://www.detroit-agriculture.org/) supported collaboratively by four organizations: Detroit Agriculture Network, www.geocities.com/detroitag; The Greening of Detroit, http://www.greeningofdetroit.com/; Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Earthworks Garden, http://www.cskdetroit.org/; and Michigan State University Extension-Wayne County, http://www.msue.msu.edu/.

Eastern Market Corporation
An historic 43-acre market in Detroit serving as wholesale hub seven days a week and as a retail farmers market. Contact Dan Carmody at

Food System Economic Partnership
A five-county collaborative connecting a range of business, government, and community groups around food and farming. More at

SEED Wayne
Dedicated to building sustainable food systems on the campus of Wayne State University and in Detroit communities. More at

Farm to School

Food System Economic Partnership

Healthy School Meals

Michigan Farm to School

Taste the Local Difference


Community Supported Agriculture in Michigan

C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU

Michigan Farmers Market Association
A central resource for consumers, growers, and managers of Michigan Farmers Markets.

Michigan Food and Farming Systems

Michigan Food Policy Council

Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance

MSU Product Center


One important source of funding is the new 2008 federal Farm Bill, which includes $14 billion targeted to help grow local food and sustainable agriculture in the United States. Learn all about the programs and funding in the Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill by the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Find it at http://www.sustainableagriculturecoalition.org/.

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