Good Food Life: Marty Gerencer
Principal, Morse Marketing Communications, LLC, Muskegon, MI
January 1, 2014
What is your role with Morse Marketing Communications (MMC)?
MG: We are a national consultancy focused on 1) building community and regional food systems, 2) connecting small, beginning, minority and women farmers to new markets, 3) increasing healthy food into communities, particularly low-income communities, and 4) overseeing programs that progress regional food systems infrastructure like food hubs.
How does MMC work toward the goals of the Good Food Charter?
MG: It seems that all of the work we do progresses the goals of the Good Food Charter in the state of Michigan. Connecting growers to new markets and increasing the amount of locally produced, healthy food into Michigan communities, particularly low income communities, are some direct outcomes of the initiatives we are involved in.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
MG: In many ways we are creating a new food industry. I enjoy sharing new ways of doing things, and awakening people to the fact that there is locally produced, healthy food within miles of wherever we are sitting, and that locally produced food has a hard time reaching the people that are without healthy food access, leaving growers with less income and local economies suffering. What I like best about my work is that local food related initiatives are win-win for people, growers and all food stakeholders, the local economy and the state of Michigan. Local food is about more than any one of us, it is about all of us.
What opportunities do you see for moving toward the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter and where do you see those leading in the next five to ten years?
MG: One of the major opportunities I see is capacity building; for farmers, for regional food aggregators and distributors, for those involved in keeping the food safe, for nonprofits and support organizations trying their best to support this work as it is evolving and progressing. It’s becoming apparent that this work requires expertise in farming, in food safety, in regional infrastructure, in support organizations that manage projects to support the work, and in funding the work. As a new, emerging industry, we need to share knowledge in more organized ways, giving people tools and resources to do their jobs better, and engage our young people in this work.
What is one thing you’ve learned through your experience that you’d like to share with others?
MG: The Good Food Charter has given a strategic voice to local food systems work, setting reachable, solid goals, supported by a reasonably larger number of diverse stakeholders from around Michigan. This blanket of support helps all of us accelerate our efforts.