Council of Governments Receives $200,000 Grant for Regional Food Hub
The Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG) has received a $200,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) to support the development of a regional food hub in Traverse City. The Grand Traverse Regional Food Market Committee is working on developing the hub in the old state hospital commissary building at the Grand Traverse Commons.
"The grant is one more source of funding that supports a growing regional agriculture and food economy in northern Michigan," said Susan Cocciarelli, coordinator of the Agriculture and Food System Sector Alliance of Northwest Michigan and a member of the Regional Food Market Committee.
A variety of organizations and individuals formed the Regional Market Committee in 2010 to develop an aggregation and distribution site to help growers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers access the regional market for food and agricultural products. The market will serve the greater Northwestern Michigan area, acting as a hub for the many activities that support the local food movement.
"The Regional Food Market will help farmers build their businesses and help retailers meet growing consumer demand for local food ," said Cocciarelli.
The MDARD grant will be used to build controlled temperature storage for a variety of different products and also to cultivate more business for the Regional Food Market.
Members of the Grand Traverse Regional Food Market Committee include: NWMCOG, through its Agriculture and Food System Sector Alliance of Northwest Michigan; MSU Extenstion; Black Star Farms; The Minervini Group; The Michigan Land Use Institute; and The Grand Vision Food and Farming Network.
The Committee's goal is to have the Regional Food Market food hub operations up and running by September 2013.
Our Township greatly benefits from Network Northwest's experience, depth of knowledge and understanding. Because they work with so many diverse communities in our ten-county region they understand the local land-use issues and are already working on solutions by the time we realize we need some help.Susan Odom, Chair, Suttons Bay Township Planning Commission