Michigan Land Use Institute

Thriving Communities / News & Views / Articles from 1995 to 2012 / Did SOP Move Lawmakers?

Did SOP Move Lawmakers?

Veteran lobbyist praises number, variety of conference-goers

May 18, 2007 | By Jim Dulzo
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

LANSING—One of the busiest people at the Michigan Land Use Institute’s recent Seeds of Prosperity conference was veteran lobbyist Jean Doss. Ms. Doss, who has been buttonholing Michigan lawmakers on behalf of non-profit groups for more than 20 years, spent most of her day working the conference for the Institute, making sure that attendees, lawmakers, and legislative staff mixed, mingled, and talked about state food policy possibilities.

Ms. Doss said that lawmakers are beginning to understand that increased sales of fresh, local food can boost Michigan’s economy, improve its public health, and keep more land in farming. She also listed four fresh-food issues that she thought lawmakers could embrace in the near future: directing the state to purchase more local foods, bringing local food to areas lacking quality grocery stores, fostering badly needed food-processing facilities, and accelerating the growth of farmers markets.

But Ms. Doss’ most interesting comments were about the unusual mix of people at Seeds of Prosperity. An event that simultaneously attract health professionals, farmers, environmentalists, economic developers, and entrepreneurs, she observed, definitely attracts lawmakers’ attention. Given the strong turnout of legislators at Seeds of Prosperity 2007, held at the Lansing Center, she predicted that it would some day be seen as a turning point for building a more prosperous farm economy in Michigan—and a healthier, greener state, too.

Jim Dulzo is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s managing editor. Reach him at jimdulzo@mlui.org.

Michigan Land Use Institute

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