Food System Infrastructure Report


December 1, 2010 - Patty Cantrell, Russ Lewis


All levels of Michigan’s food system are robust and responsive to good food needs, with home and neighborhood production, direct marketing, and regional supply chains fully developed and working alongside national and global supply chains.

Current State of Affairs

The infrastructure section of the Good Food Charter addresses the particular need of agri-food entrepreneurs for reliable pathways to market. For Michigan to achieve the vision and goals of the charter, its agri-food entrepreneurs need a well-functioning food system infrastructure of processing, distribution, and other facilities and services. If Michigan fails to address this need, it will miss a historic opportunity to grow jobs, build public health and attract business investment. Good food entrepreneurs are emerging in increasing numbers and moving to meet new, broad-based demand for healthy, green, fair and affordable food. But high risks and costs of doing so, due to wide gaps in food system infrastructure, which are a legacy of a different era, hinder this economic development.

Local and state leaders from every sector must champion a new good food direction for Michigan and provide key financial and programmatic support to agri-food entrepreneurs, including those equipment makers, distributors, value-added processors and others needed to build appropriate food system infrastructure. The financial investment needed is relatively small compared with other forms of economic development. Yet studies suggest it can generate significant returns for Michigan’s 21st century economic progress.

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