|Building a local food economy can help grow Michigan’s economy, and put people in touch with the farmers who help feed them.|
This year Michigan will elect a new governor and dozens of new state lawmakers; term limits are putting the governor’s seat, 29 Senate seats (out of 38), and 34 House seats (out of 110) in the running.
Now is the time to put local food and farming priorities in front of these candidates. They need to understand how local farms, healthy food, and the regional economic strength they can build are essential for a prosperous Michigan in the future.
That was the purpose of last week’s Michigan Good Food Summit in Lansing. Organized by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University, the Michigan Food Policy Council, and the Michigan Food Bank Council, the summit attracted nearly 400 people.
The big group worked on a set of policy priorities for local food and farming that would help build jobs, health, and hope, particularly in our rural and urban communities. People from around the state weighed in, helping to craft a “Good Food Agenda,” or charter, that Michiganders can put in front of all those new people running for office.
You can get involved, and we wish you would! The draft priorities are up on the Web and you can comment on them or make suggestions through March 18. Your participation now can help make the difference in November-and for the next, two-year session of our state Legislature.
You can go online and chew on the whole set of priorities, or just bite into the areas that interest you most. The recommendations are in five groups:
- Youth Engagement and Opportunity
- Healthy Food Access for Families and Communities
- Institutional Food Purchasing
- Farm Viability and Development
- Food System Infrastructure
We here at the Michigan Land Use Institute helped develop these priorities. We hope you can join us and other Good Food Charter organizers in making our healthy food and local farming voices heard this election year!
Patty Cantrell founded MLUI’s Entrepreneurial Agriculture Program and is a senior policy adviser for the organization. Reach her at [email protected]