Attention, institutional food service buyers interested in purchasing local food products and suppliers interested in selling local foods to institutional food buyers in the region (hospitals, early childhood programs, schools, colleges).
What do you get when you mix farm to institution, speed dating and a trade show? The answer is Cultivate Michigan Marketplace events.
Join Groundwork, MSU Extension, and your fellow farm to institution leaders for a series of meet-the-buyer style events around Michigan starting in February. These events provide an opportunity for local and regional food suppliers to connect with institutional buyers interested in purchasing their products and for buyers to build relationships with farmers and food producers in their regions.
The first marketplace event will be held in Petoskey on Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 4-6 p.m. at Stafford's Perry Hotel. I'll host the event. Subsequent events will take place in Ann Arbor on Feb. 22, Flint on Feb. 28, and Grand Rapids on March 1. Please register by 5 p.m. on Feb. 6 for the Petoskey event.
Institutional buyers from Leelanau, Kalkaska, Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, Cheboygan and Chippewa counties are already registered and will be ready to talk to growers and suppliers about their future needs.
Feel free to share this with any farmers/growers you know that would make a great match for farm to school sales. Farmers, food hubs, processors and distributors of any scale are welcome.
This series of Cultivate Michigan Marketplace Events is brought to you with support from the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Farm to Institution Network.
Jennifer Schaap is the local food policy specialist who coordinates Groundwork's food and farming program in the Northern Farms Foodshed of Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.