In the early 1990s, Michigan’s agricultural industry was at a critical juncture. Comprehensively addressing all of the biological, environmental, social, political, economic, regulatory and operational challenges it faced was going to take a full-fledged systems approach. Michigan agricultural leaders agreed that a rapid, interdisciplinary, science-based response to critical and emerging issues could positively affect those producing, processing and marketing agricultural crops.
Originally called the Plant Initiative, Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs) grew from Public Act 480 of 1996 and was passed by the state legislature in 1997 with the grass-roots support of 45 agricultural commodity groups. Each year, Project GREEEN puts together a review of the previous year's projects though a legislative summary.
Project GREEEN was not created to salvage a dying industry, but for the opposite reason – Michigan’s agricultural industries have steadily grown over the years. Project GREEEN produces industry-driven research and Extension that works to ensure and enhance this growth.
Therefore, its mission is three-pronged:
- Develop research and educational programs in response to industry needs
- Ensure and improve food safety
- Protect and preserve the quality of the environment
Project GREEEN, Michigan’s plant agriculture initiative housed at Michigan State University, is a cooperative effort by plant-based commodity groups and businesses in cooperation with Michigan State University AgBioResearch, Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to advance Michigan’s economy through plant-based agriculture.