NW Michigan Food and Farming Network Report to the Community 2015 Report to the Community - Page 7

2015 Report to the community FFN: Six Years and Counting Network born out of 2009 farming summit By Diane Conners Michigan Land Use Institute The Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network was born out of a 2009 Farm Route to Prosperity Summit organized by economic development and business groups, farmers and farm groups, nonprofit local food policy advocates, land conservancies, job training organizations, health professionals, community garden supporters, school food service directors, and many others. The purpose of the summit was to determine how the region’s food and farm interests should follow up on the Grand Vision, a 50-year planning process that called for strong farms, healthy people, and abundant, fruitful farmland. Six years later, the Food & Farming Network continues as it was founded—not as an organization, but as a structure through which many organizations and individuals can meet and make progress together. Here is a sampling of ways partners have worked toward the network’s goal that by 2020, the region’s food and farming systems are more resilient and provide at least 20% of our region’s food: Infrastructure development: The Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance was born out of the infrastructure committee of the network and is working with small to mid-size HELP S E T N O RT H W E S T MICHIGAN’S F O O D A N D FA R M L A N D C O U R S E ! Northwest Michigan’s 50-year Grand Vision calls for strong farms, healthy people, and abundant, fruitful farmland. Now it’s time for you to weigh in on how we accomplish this Grand food-and-farming Vision. PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE FIRST ANNUAL FARM ROUTE TO PROSPERITY SUMMIT! T U E S D Route B U A RY 2 4 2 0 0 9 The invitation to the 2009 FarmAY , F EtoRProsperity ,Summit called for people to Center Pointe, 12935 S. West course!” “set northwest Michigan’s food and farmlandBay Shore Drive Directions and parking information on back. growers, Cherry Capital Foods, the to food safety certifications called the 10 a.m. 4 p.m. Safe Food Risk Assessment; adGoodwill Farm to Freezer project The summit starts promptly at 10 a.m. Arrive as early as 9 a.m. for snacks and getting settled. vanced farmer residency programs; and others to includes a local-food box lunch. No charge, but $10 per box lunch requested, day of the event. provide space for proThe day supported seed-saving and rootstock cessing and distribution in a Food efforts as plan Farm Route to Prosperity. Hub building; and to foster and have joined togetheratoway to preserve biodiLeading business and community organizations Their infrastructure results versity; the in area conservancies, connect othermission is to work theproj- of this summit intoandregional Grand Vision implementation process. The partners are committed to holding Farm Route to Prosperity voices developed numerous land protection ects. The network also served in an and ideas together over the coming years so that the Grand Vision reflects and invests in them. measures. Partners also worked with advisory capacity for the expanded FARM ROUTE TO PROSPERITY WILL BRING development of G I O N A theOLocalNDif- R M the D E R S T OTraverse T O : Area EcoTaste L F O D A D F A L E A Grand G E T H E R Bay RE ference® as a key component of mar- nomic Development Corporation Reach a common, over-arching goal and set of objectives (see back page). as it created the 2020 Fund, which keting infrastructure for local food. Identify and The network for its them. Food access:prioritize strategiesandachieving provides bridge loans to farmers and entrepreneurs. Decide youth committee suphealth and next steps for connecting and advancing our work on the Farm Route to Prosperity. Community identity: The Traported a 2010 Farm to School ConP A RT I C I P AT I O N F R O M A C R O S S O U R R E G I O N A L F O O D A N D F A R M C O M M U N I T Y I S N E E D E D . verse City Area Chamber of Comference; provided TLD farm guides Invitations are out to: Farmers and food merce challenged its members to to low-income families via health producers Retail and institutional food buyers Processors and distributors Youth and community groups Health and employment advocates request that caterers source at least department and hospital programs; Business and government leaders Farm and land conservationists Finance and funding experts 20% of their food locally for any launched Cooking with Kids at the We hope you can attend, and please spread the word to others who should! Northwestern Michigan Fair to pro- meeting or event that they host. Munson Medical Center was a lead vide families with a fun and affordSpace is limited. Please RSVP by February 21 to Judy Cunningham able way to learn kid-friendly recipes host for Food, Farms & Health, and at the Michigan Land is committed or 231-941-6584. using local produce; raised Use Institute: judy@mlui.org to continued involvefunds ment. Schools have embraced farm to bring Double Up Food Bucks to to school programming, and the Trathe region; and held Food, Farms verse Bay Area Intermediate School & Health, a 2014 event showcasing District is working to be a central ways to use local food to advance resource. TLD is being adopted by individual and community health. area retailers and other businesses as Farmer resources: Partners have collaborated in “Get Farming, Keep a branding tool to promote and sell local products. Farming” workshops; promoted www.foodandfarmingnetwork.org voluntary, small-farm appropriate 2