Michigan Local Food Council Network Awards Seed Grants to Six Michigan Councils

Author(s): Liz Gensler, Rachel Kelly

January 12, 2017

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Michigan Local Food Council Network Awards Seed Grants to Six Michigan Councils

Contact:
Liz Gensler, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems | (517) 353-1914 | gensler@msu.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

East Lansing, Michigan – Six Michigan local food councils will receive seed grants from the Michigan Local Food Council Network. These grants will help new and existing food councils and food policy councils build their capacity and accomplish their goals. The grants will be awarded to the following food councils:

  • Southwest Michigan Local Food Council
  • Detroit Food Policy Council
  • Washtenaw County Food Policy Council
  • Food Systems Workgroup  (greater Lansing area)
  • Kent County Food Policy Council
  • Good Food Kalamazoo

For the Michigan network, a local food council is defined as a group of people who regularly convene to assess and recommend practices and policies that affect one or more aspects of the food system in a defined geographic area.

“Dialogue with local food councils led the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to develop the Michigan Local Food Council Network Seed Grant program,” said Liz Gensler, Academic Specialist with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. “These local food leaders expressed that seed grant funding would be a substantial help to councils working to build their capacity and advance both their individual and shared statewide goals.”

The councils will use the seed grant money for activities like: hiring a coordinator, conducting a needs assessment survey, creating a communications plan and forming a new food council. Councils funded by seed grants will use an equity lens, working to ensure that their membership reflects the ethnic and racial diversity of the community or communities it serves.

“The seed grant funding will allow local food councils throughout Michigan to develop greater capacity to engage the community in food policy and local food issues, as well as to convene food system leaders around the Michigan Good Food Charter goals,” said Emma Garcia, a member of the newly forming Kent County Food Policy Council. “The development of the Kent County Food Policy Council and other local food councils from the funding is crucial in building the infrastructure needed to achieve the vision of a vibrant local food system in Michigan.”

In this round, grants awarded are up to $5,000 without matching funds and up to $6,000 with an appropriate matching commitment of $1,000. The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems expects to offer this opportunity several more times in the next two years.

The Michigan Local Food Council Network is sponsored and co-convened by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, with funds made possible through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Network coordinators are Liz Gensler, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and Megan Masson-Minock, ENP & Associates, with support from Andrea Brown and Lauren Carlson at Michigan Association of Planning.

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The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) engages the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in developing regionally integrated sustainable food systems. CRFS extends MSU’s pioneering legacy of applied research, education and outreach by catalyzing collaboration and fostering innovation among the diverse range of people, processes and places involved in regional food systems. Our vision is a thriving economy, equity and sustainability for Michigan, the country and the planet through food systems rooted in local regions and centered on Good Food: food that is healthy, green, fair and affordable. Learn more at http://foodsystems.msu.edu and connect on Twitter and Facebook: @MSUCRFS.