Michigan Ag Leaders and University Culinary Leaders working toward locally-sourced food

Working together, Michigan food producers and university culinary experts can find ways to connect farm and fork in college dining halls.

Michigan is home to many world-class universities and colleges that are engaging minds with ideas and creating opportunities for research and discovery.  One such opportunity is for these institutions to make better connections with local farmers to help reach the goal of 20 percent Michigan-grown products on their dining menus by the year 2020. Increasing sourcing from Michigan food producers is one goal of the Michigan Good Food Charter.

On June 9, 2015 the Michigan Farm to Institution Network (MFIN) joined the Agricultural Leaders of Michigan and culinary and sustainability specialists at Michigan universities to meet one another and talk about how these two groups can work together.  The higher education institutions represented included Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Dining and culinary services at colleges and universities are working to create local, healthy and seasonal meals for students, employees and guests and finding ways to source local is one way to accomplish this goal.

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan is a coalition of agricultural, commodity and agri-business leaders committed to promoting Michigan agriculture, participating in the ongoing dialog about issues affecting our state, and harnessing agriculture’s power and potential to further grow Michigan’s economy.  This is an exciting opportunity for MFIN because it represents an expansion into the higher education sector. Previously, most success has been seen in K-12 schools and hospitals.  The meeting gave MFIN the opportunity to introduce both Agricultural Leaders of Michigan and culinary staff from different colleges and universities to one another and to the Cultivate Michigan campaign. We are looking forward to more learning and more opportunities to connect great Michigan agricultural production with Michigan colleges and universities.   

Michigan State University Extension Community Food Systems team members are part of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and are working to reach the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter. 

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