TRAVERSE CITY—The Michigan Land Use Institute is launching a new Know Your Farmer marketing tool as a companion to the successful Taste the Local Difference Food and Farm Guide that is a directory to more than 200 of the region’s farms and their products.
|The Gallagher family farm is one of 20 featured as part of MLUI’s Know Your Farmer program.|
This new pilot project features biographical stories and photographs of 20 farm families growing food in the northwest Lower Michigan region. These Know Your Farmer biographies are designed as marketing tools that will help attract consumers to the high quality food available to Grand Traverse region residents from their local farmers, fisherman, and other food businesses. The biographies are being packaged as Web-based articles, posters, farmer ‘baseball cards’, and market cards to help promote the farmers and raise consumer awareness about the important jobs being done by their farming neighbors.
The pilot project is made possible by funding from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. The Grand Traverse Band and MLUI are seeking to expand the customer base and sales for local farms while also improving the health of families, and hope to eventually feature all of the farms in the Taste the Local Difference guide.
“We want people to get to know the farmers growing our food in this region and to make the connection that these are neighbors in our community. The more you learn about these farmers, the more you’ll want to support them,” said Janice Benson, director of the project. “Their stories are amazing. Hearing about their struggles, as well as successes makes you appreciate this very important occupation.”
The Institute has completed biographies for 20 farmers in our northwest Lower Michigan region.
The first ten Know Your Farmer biographies are posted on www.localdifference.org and two new biographies will be posted there each Monday for the next five weeks.
In addition to the biographies, the Institute is producing market cards for use at farmers markets and grocery stores, as well as farmer “baseball cards,” to help children learn about the people who grow the food that they eat.
“We hope that by learning about these farmers and fishermen, they will begin to recognize them as the ‘local heroes’ they are,” said Mrs. Benson.
The Institute is grateful to the Grand Traverse Band for their generous support to get this project started and they hope to continue to feature many more farms in our region in the future, as funding allows.