Local Food Victories

We are pleased to announce the 2014 Local Food Victories!

1. The Ypsilanti Local Food Ordinance - The ordinance began its path to victory through participatory planning and mobilizing community voices to identify priorities around food systems. The result was the drafting and passage of a number of exciting food ordinances that legalized food growing on vacant land and front yards, introduced zoning changes that help brewers and distillers operate more freely, and will hopefully get hoophouses approved, too. Accepting: Amanda Edmonds.

2. Fair Food Network - The FFN succeeded in getting its Double Up Food Bucks Program model inserted into federal legislation. This innovative program gives funding to farmers’ markets across the state so that they can double the purchasing power for customers using federal food assistance dollars. It was so successful that Congress included fruit and vegetable incentive programs in our new farm bill, ensuring equal access by all to fresh, nutritious produce.  Accepting: Rachel Chadderdon-Bair.

3. Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development -OCED executed a study, by leading local economist Michael Shuman, of the economic impact of shifting 20% of Washtenaw County's food system to local products (with detailed analysis on doing so just in Eastern Washtenaw County). They also worked towards drafting a local procurement policy for the county, which is a great policy change to support local vendors- including local food! Accepting: Tony VanDerworp.

4. Dexter Community Schools - Dexter Schools are among a growing number of schools across the country working to bring in more fresh, locally-sourced foods, and foster students’ connection to where their food comes from. They have been experimenting with a wildly delicious Farm to School program, school gardens, cooking classes, school food trade shows, and partnerships with local chefs, such as Alex Young from Zingerman’s Roadhouse. These activities teach kids the importance of eating healthy and connect students to their community’s agricultural heritage, while supporting our local economy.  Such efforts represent multi-stakeholder partnerships between local non-profit organizations, local businesses, school staff, teachers, administrators, parents, community volunteers, and local farmers. Accepting: Caitlin Joseph.

5. UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative - UMSFI was responsible for hiring a cluster of 4-5 new faculty members working jointly, across disciplines, to research and teach about food systems. This great effort has led to a flurry of excitement around campus on this topic including renewed development of the Campus Farm, the UM Sustainable Food Program and many other activities. Accepting: Ivette Perfecto & Catherine Badgley.

6. Washtenaw Food Hub - The food hub will be having its grand opening this year after restoring a 16 acre property and developing a community of food and farm businesses, establishing 3 commercial processing kitchens, and serving as the new home of its first tenant - The Brinery. The Washtenaw Food Hub seeks to establish environmental, economic and individual health as the standard for a sustainable food system in our area. Accepting: Deb Lentz & Richard Andres.

7. Feral Foods - This small, permaculture Community Supported Farm has displayed their merits well by getting off the ground and running, even through the difficult times of overpowering seasonal weather. Each month, Feral Foods CSA brought people together through a farm breakfast, where they raised money for various non-profits within Washtenaw County. Accepting: Britt & Pat Keene

8. Nature and Nurture Seeds + Ann Arbor Seed Company - These companies have been working on seeds for many years and have launched seed companies right here at home  - “Nature and Nurture Seeds,” and the “Ann Arbor Seed Company”  - both Ann Arbor based seed companies offering open-pollinated, sustainably grown, and public domain vegetable seeds. They seek to be a catalyst for the preservation and innovation of food seed biodiversity in the Great Lakes region, helping to build resilient, regionally based, sustainable food systems that provide healthy food for all. They are working to grow as many seeds locally as possible. Their model is one of transparency, which is sorely lacking in the seed industry. Accepting: Erica Kempter, Mike Levine & Eric Kampe.

9. Food Gatherers This year, Food Gatherers completed a warehouse expansion that has and will continue to increase the quantity and quality of nutritious food available to people in need in Washtenaw County.  Since the implementation of Food Gatherer’s Food Security Plan, at least 50% of food distribution efforts have been perishable produce and protein items. In addition to nearly doubling their overall food distribution capacity, the expansion created more than 150 pallet spaces of cold and freezer storage (originally, just 32 pallet spaces), which allows Food Gatherers to maintain their commitment to nutrition initiatives and distribute even more produce and protein items. Accepting: Eileen Spring.

10. Local Food Hero - Jason Frenzel We honor Jason this year as a local food hero for his unrelenting commitment to advancing a fair, just, and sustainable local food system. He has contributed thousands of hours over the years to support the local food movement and his positive attitude, enterprising spirit, and leadership brings the local food community closer together.