2010 Michigan Good Food CharterDOWNLOAD FILE
June 1, 2010
The 2010 Michigan Good Food Charter presents a vision for Michigan’s food and agriculture system to advance its contribution to the economy, protect our natural resource base, improve our residents’ health and help generations of Michigan youth to thrive.
We need to enact policies and strategies that make it just as easy to get food from a nearby farm as from the global marketplace and that will assure all Michiganders have access to good food and all Michigan farmers and food businesses have entrepreneurial opportunities.
2010 Charter Synopsis
Barely into a new millennium, the need for a thriving economy, equity and sustainability for all of Michigan and its people rings truer than ever. As part of achieving these goals, we need to grow, sell and eat “good food” – food that is healthy, green, fair and affordable.
By reemphasizing our local and regional food systems, alongside the national and global ones, we have an opportunity to create a system based on good food in Michigan and achieve a healthier, more prosperous and more equitable state.
Consider the irony:
- Michigan has the second most diverse agricultural production in the country, and yet 59 percent of our residents (distributed across each of our 83 counties) live in a place that has inadequate access to the food they need for a healthy daily diet (based on public health recommendations). This is what anti-hunger advocates refer to as “food insecurity.”
- Consumer interest in local foods is growing rapidly, and yet mid-sized farms are disappearing at an alarming rate and many farms cannot support themselves without off-farm work.
What Needs to Change?
Current policies, practices and market structures keep us from realizing these opportunities. For example, some zoning regulations limit growing food in cities; high quality, healthy food is not always available at places where people use public benefits to purchase food; and institutions, especially K-12 schools, face restrictive budgets for school meals.
Michigan buyers and farmers have limited opportunities to connect directly with one another. Regulations are typically more easily implemented by large-scale farms and markets. Food safety requirements are often inflexible and can be cost-prohibitive for small-and medium-scale growers.
Farmland is unaffordable in many cases. New farmers face challenges in accessing capital to begin their operations and thus have difficulty developing a market.
What Can We Do?
We can address these barriers through specific, strategic state and local actions, and we can forge new partnerships centered on the values of good food. We can raise public and private policymakers’ awareness of these issues and make Michigan good food policies and practices a priority at all levels of decision making.
The 2010 Michigan Good Food Charter presents 25 policy priorities that offer specific strategies for reaching the goals above in the next ten years. These strategies include ways to:
- Create new economic opportunities – through opening new market channels, through supporting Michigan food and farm entrepreneurs, and through reducing regulatory hurdles.
- Bring good food to where people live – through utilizing strategies that will make it easier for people to access healthy, fresh or minimally processed, Michigan-grown food every day.
- Bring good food into the mainstream – through cultivating a culture that values good food.