Above: Solar panels west of Traverse City that will help the town meet its 100% clean energy goals.
Welcome! We have launched our 2019 Year-End Fundraising Campaign, and are proud to present a snapshot of some of what we have achieved so far this year. Give a read and please consider supporting all this great work. Donate today!
PHOTO: Nic Theisen, co-owner, Loma Farm, on farm tour during Groundwork's Farms, Food & Health Comference with Culinary Medicine Training, September 2019. By Gary Howe
Farms, Food & Health Major Grant
Groundwork received a grant of over $500,000 from the Michigan Health Endowment to expand and develop Groundwork’s Farms, Food & Health conference and outreach initiatives. Funds will help expand our culinary medicine education for health professionals and the general public, promoting the idea that nutrient-dense, locally grown foods are essential to developing a culture of health.
Food Pantry Local Food
Groundwork has been working to increase the amount of nutrient-dense, locally grown food offered in the food pantries of northwest lower Michigan. Strengthening that initiative, the Groundwork team is coordinating local food instruction in schools with foods that are available in pantries. So, for example, if asparagus is the “Food of the Month” in school, asparagus and related recipes will simultaneously be featured in local food pantries.
10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms Makes Progress Toward Statewide
Thanks in part to Groundwork legislative education efforts, Michigan House and Senate budget bills included funding to make the innovative school lunch funding program 10 Cents a Meal available to school districts in all Michigan counties (previously about half of the state’s counties had access). When 10 Cents was removed from the budget during last minute line-item vetoes, Groundwork mobilized an outreach campaign aiming to have the program reinstated, an effort that is ongoing.
Farms, Food & Health Conference with Culinary Medicine Training
Building on the momentum of four previous conferences and trainings, Groundwork partnered with Munson Healthcare, Great Lakes Culinary Institute of Northwestern Michigan College, and Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District to present the first joint Farms, Food & Health Conference with a Culinary Medicine training for accredited healthcare professionals. Groundwork has been an early Midwest leader in this promising area of health, held September 26–29, 2019.
ACEs Public Health Event
Groundwork led a collaboration of several community partners to offer a one-day event that paired a morning session of culinary medicine training with an evening free public health awareness event that explored the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The evening event drew 300 people for a film, panel discussion and lively q/a session.
PHOTO: Groundwork's Jim Bruckbauer, director of the TC Mobility Lab, tests out e-scooters in Columbus, Ohio, while on a trip to the nation's hub of new mobility innovation. By Gary Howe
Ann Arbor to Traverse City Railroad Repair
Worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation to repair several miles of railroad track in Traverse City. The track repairs will allow passengers to travel on trains and increase freight capacity.
TC Mobility Lab Launch
Groundwork launched T.C. Mobility Lab, which explores how new mobility services—carshare, bike share, private commuter shuttles—could reduce traffic by giving everyday commuters more options for getting around.
T.C. Mobility Lab is making progress on developing a 100-bike, 20-station, community bike share system that will launch in spring in Traverse City.
Grand Traverse Advocate Academy
Groundwork hosted and co-led Norte’s Grand Traverse Advocate Academy, a six-week training designed to help a group of Grand Traverse residents become more knowledgeable, confident, effective leaders for policies and infrastructure that encourage walking, biking, transit use, and other forms of active transportation
PHOTO: Sustainability panel, Michigan Clean Energy Conference. By Gary Howe
Michigan Clean Energy Conference
Groundwork organized and hosted our third and strongest renewable energy conference. Speakers included leaders of Michigan’s two largest utilities and CEO of Green Mountain Power, along with environmental leaders and on-the-ground installers. The conference dealmaking session, pairing buyers and purveyors of renewable energy systems, was especially successful.
100% Clean Energy Towns
Worked with Petoskey to help the city council vote to commit to 100% clean energy by 2035, the most aggressive municipal clean energy commitment in the state. Petoskey became the third town in Michigan to commit to 100%, and our work there followed our efforts that helped convince Traverse City to become the first Michigan town to commit to 100% renewable energy, at the end of last year.
Michigan Climate Action Network
Negotiated with Michigan Environmental Council to transfer the hosting of Michigan Climate Action Network to Groundwork. MiCAN, Michigan’s leading climate change organization, will continue working as a network of groups engaged in climate change solutions, but will also be supported by Groundwork staff and organizational expertise.
Great Lakes Business Network
Launched with the purpose of bringing the voice of environmentally oriented businesspeople to the Line 5 issue, the GLBN is now expanding its mission to include issues of clean energy, algal blooms and invasive species. Bringing a “pro-business, pro-environment” voice to the environmental policy debate has great potential, and we look forward to seeing what this network will achieve.
Filmmaker Bill Latka's eyes were opened to the imminent threat of climate change in the early 2000's when he was doing research for an extensive series on the issue for Discovery Channel. When the project was abruptly cancelled, he decided to move home to the heart of the Great Lakes and devote his career to stopping global warming. Read more of Bill's story and his thoughts on this issue of our time in this brief q/a interview.