The Michigan Good Food Charter is a widely supported initiative impacting current discussions about Michigan's food system. The statewide public policy initiative "outlines a vision for the food system in Michigan and 25 agenda priorities to move us towards it in the next 10 years," according to Michigan Good Food's website. The charter was developed by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University, the Food Bank Council of Michigan, and the Michigan Food Policy Council with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Last Fall, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture showed support for the initiative by issuing a resolution.
A few of the major goals for 2020 are;
* By 2020, "Michigan institutions will source 20 percent of their food products from Michigan growers, producers and processors."
* "Michigan farmers will profitably supply 20 percent of all Michigan institutional, retailer, and consumer food purchases and be able to pay fair wages to their workers."
* "Michigan will generate new agri-food businesses at a rate that enables 20 percent of food purchases in Michigan to come from Michigan."
The assumption is that supporting more locally sourced food production and consumption will generate a large economic impact. We are nowhere near the proposed 20 percent marks described above. Instead consumption of locally sourced products constitutes closer to 1%-2% of our annual budgets (depending on where you live or what study you read). Keeping more of our money circulating in our own communities could mean more jobs and economic growth.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info.