Macomb County understanding community food systems 2017-18

MSU Extension's efforts in ensuring safe and secure food lead to a healthy population, which in turn helps keep health care costs in check and our communities viable.

When you support MSU Extension’s efforts to enhance residents’ access to an adequate supply of safe, affordable food, program participants will focus on food safety measures in the field and at harvest, learn proper food preparation and food preservation techniques, and bring community partners together to strengthen access to healthy food supplies. This leads to a healthy population, which in turn helps keep health care costs in check and our communities viable.

Macomb Food Collaborative

Hosted by the Macomb Food Collaborative, the All About Food: From Farm to Fork Conference was held in June of 2017. The conference was supported by MSU Extension, a member in the Collaborative, and convened food system stakeholders from around Macomb County, with additional participants from surrounding counties, including Lapeer, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne. Educators, farmers, farmers market vendors, consumers and food business owners were represented in the 120 attendees. The conference evaluation demonstrated that respondents made new connections, learned new skills, and gained knowledge about local food systems as a result of this conference. Sessions were offered on a wide range of topics, including the impact of the Flint water crisis, farmland preservation, gardening, and food preservation.

Farm to Institution

Farm to Institution is a comprehensive approach to building the regional food system by providing foods that are nutrient dense to students and patients, creating more economic opportunity for local growers, and a more connected food community. To foster Farm to Institution programs in 2017, the Community Food Systems work team hosted tours focused on dry beans, a small scale carrot producer, peach and apple orchard and a food rescue organization. The team also hosted educational workshops, including Starting and Sustaining a School Garden, where participants learn how to begin or expand their school garden through facilitated goal setting and handson activities. Technical support, one-on-one counseling, presentations and resource development were all used to assist practitioners in sourcing more local food through their meal programs.

In total, the Community Food Systems program based in Macomb County reached 840 participants through educational opportunities within southeastern Michigan and the state.

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