State Priorities with Health, Agriculture, Align with Charter

Gov. Snyder and the Mich. Dept. of Ag. & Rural Development highlight farm to school and healthy food access.

In his September 14 address, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder shared his ideas for improving health and wellness in the state. Some of his recommendations that aligned with the charter goals included:

· Working with schools to increase physical activity and health education and to adopt healthier nutrition    standards.

· Improving access to healthy, local foods in partnership with food manufacturers and retailers.

· Strengthening the farm-to-school network in Michigan.

The Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) also recently released an executive summary highlighting the recommendations that came out of the Michigan Food Processors Summit (April 2011) and the Governor’s Summit on Production Agriculture (August 2011). Based on these events, MDARD is adopting four over-arching goals for the food and agriculture industry for the next 5 years.

· Increase the economic impact of the food and agriculture industry from $71 to $100 billion.

· Double agricultural exports.

· Increase food and agricultural  career jobs by 10%.

· Improve access to healthy foods for Michigan consumers by 20%.

These goals intersect with the charter goals in numerous ways. As all of us work with state agencies to advance the charter, we should strive to help them see how these efforts align and where we can combine forces to more rapidly move toward a healthier and more economically robust food system in Michigan.

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