2014 Michigan Good Food Summit connects, cultivates, and catalyzes the good food movement

11/11/2014

Summit attendees listening to the morning keynote featuring Betti Wiggins and Barbara Norman.  (view larger image)

Summit attendees listening to the morning keynote featuring Betti Wiggins and Barbara Norman.

By Jude Barry, CRFS Food System Specialist

The third Michigan Good Food Summit, hosted on October 28th, 2014 gathered approximately 425 people from across the state of Michigan at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan. Representatives from across the food supply chain participated in learning, sharing, and networking opportunities to support the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter. Attendees experienced opportunities throughout the day to both celebrate successes in working toward the Michigan Good Food Charter goals and connect and plan with others to develop our state’s good food future.

Since 2012, many people have been working hard to develop a better food system. We can see these improvements in areas such as:

-          Food access

-          Infrastructure systems  

-          Youth programs

-          Financing opportunities for food business

-          Awareness around equity

-          Awareness of good food and

-          New business development

These are but a few examples of breakout sessions and keynote events that were shared at the 2014 Michigan Good Food Summit. Success stories that highlighted change in the goals of the Charter were also shared on the day in short video stories. These videos can be found HERE.

Among the many distinguished presenters, Betti Wiggins, Executive Director of Detroit Public Schools Office of School Nutrition and Barbara Norman, Owner/Operator of Barbara’s Blueberry Batch, Covert, Michigan shared information on building good food systems and overcoming challenges in making change. Ms. Wiggins highlighted a significant achievement in Detroit, “Detroit Public Schools source 22% of its 85,000 meals from Michigan growers.”

Breakout sessions were held in the morning and afternoon and covered a range of topics from financing to youth opportunities and from measuring charter metrics to food access issues.  

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Panelists answer questions during a breakout session.

At the lunchtime session a creative and energizing singing and dancing performance from the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network’s Food Warriors Youth Development Program, earned a standing ovation. This performance was followed by a panel on fairness in the food system where attendees heard from Dr. Alicia Farris, Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, Filiberto Villa, President of  Farmers on the Move Cooperative and Tom Thornburg, Farmworker Legal Services.

The closing keynote was by Dr. Oran Hesterman, Executive Director of the Fair Food Network, who delivered a practical view to developing Good Food and charged people with continuing to make big change in our food system to reach the goals of the Charter.

Photos of individuals were taken to show how they supported good food – the breadth of support represented at the Summit showed a very pictorial and extensive support for all the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter. Photos and videos that captured the energy of the day can be found at the Michigan Good Food Charter website and Facebook page.