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Support for MI Good Food Charter Grows
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In 10 years, will Michigan farmers supply 20 percent of all of the state’s institutional, retail and consumer food purchases? That’s one of the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter, released earlier this summer by members of the Michigan Good Food group.

Source: Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contact: Eileen Gianiodis, gianiod1@msu.edu, 517-432-1555, ext. 230

Support for Michigan Good Food Charter Grows

LANSING, Mich. – In 10 years, will Michigan farmers supply 20 percent of all of the state’s institutional, retail and consumer food purchases?

That’s one of the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter, released earlier this summer by members of the Michigan Good Food group. And it’s getting a little help from a resolution, issued last week, by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture.

The Michigan Good Food Charter presents a vision for Michigan’s food and agriculture system to advance its contribution to the economy, protect our natural resource base, improve our residents’ health and help generations of Michigan youth thrive.

“When you consider that Michigan has the second most diverse agricultural production in the country, yet 59 percent of its residents live in a place that has inadequate access to the food they need for a healthy diet, it just doesn’t make much sense,” said Kathryn Colasanti, the group’s coordinator.

The Michigan Good Food Charter lays out a vision for how to move toward a system based on “good food” over the next 10 years. The six principal goals of the charter are built around:

  • Expanding institutional purchasing of Michigan grown and produced foods
  • Increasing the ability of Michigan farmers to be profitable and pay fair wages
  • Expanding generation of new agri-food businesses
  • Increasing access to good, Michigan food for residents
  • Implementing Michigan Nutrition Standards in more K–12 schools
  • Increasing exposure to food and agriculture for Michigan youth through school curricula and through career development

According to the Good Food group, “good food” in Michigan, is food that is:

  • healthy, as in it provides nourishment and enables people to thrive;
  • green, as in it was produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable;
  • fair, as in no one along the production line was exploited for its creation; and
  • affordable, as in all people have access to it. 

“With Michigan’s strength as an agricultural state, we have an opportunity to think about catalyzing economic development through the food system and promoting healthier eating habits along the way,” said Mike Hamm, C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture.

The Good Food Charter sets forth 25 agenda priorities divided into two sections – local and statewide. Those sections are further broken into more specific groups including: research, state agency, legislation, business or non-profit, market, land use and community.           

Charter supporters across the state are working to bring the charter to the attention of state candidates and local officials and to spread the word about how the policy opportunities identified in the charter can advance a system based on good food in their own communities.

The charter evolved from feedback attendees gave in response to ideas presented by five work groups at the Michigan Good Food Summit on February 25 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. The summit was co-hosted by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University, the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Michigan Food Policy Council with primary support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“Given Michigan’s diverse range of food system stakeholders, it is important to have events like the Michigan Good Food Summit to convene a broad representation of people and organizations around these issues. Food policy is something that impacts everyone, whether you are a producer, processor, retailer, consumer or policymaker,” said Kirsten Simmons, executive director of the Michigan Food Policy Council. 

Individuals and groups across the state have expressed their support for the goals of the charter by signing a Resolution of Support. They include:

  • Farmers (AppleSchram Orchard, Bay Shore Farms and Green Bush Farms)
  • State government departments (Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan Department of Community Health)
  • Food businesses (Michigan Grocers Association, Eastern Market Corporation, Cherry Capital Foods, and co-ops in Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo)
  • Economic development agencies (Detroit Local Initiatives Support Council)
  • School food service directors
  • Farmers markets
  • Food banks (Gleaners, Forgotten Harvest and Food Gatherers)
  • Foundations (Prima Civitas Foundation)
  • Public Health Groups (American Cancer Society–Great Lakes, Sparrow Hospital, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Center for Managing Chronic Disease at University of Michigan, and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association)
  • Educators (Michigan Horticulture Teachers Association)
  • University-based research centers (Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University, Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station)
  • Local food and farm groups

The Michigan Good Food Charter, the Resolution of Support and a list of supporters can be found at www.michiganfood.org.

For more information, visit the group’s website at www.michiganfood.org; or contact Colasanti at 517-353-0642.