Good Food Life: Meredith Freeman
What is your role at the Fair Food Network?
MF: I am Program Director of Fair Food Network Michigan and help to coordinate and lead their statewide projects, specifically around the Michigan Good Food Fund and policy work.
How does the Fair Food Network work toward the goals of the Good Food Charter?
MF: The mission of Fair Food Network is to make connections between small to mid-sized family farmers and communities with limited access to fresh and healthy foods. Our support creates a win-win situation for both communities and farmers. What the Fair Food Network is doing is really at the heart of what the Good Food Charter is working to accomplish around food access and the connection between farmers and Michigan consumers.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
MF: Right now, I am most excited about the Michigan Good Food Fund, which is currently under development. It is a public-private loan fund that will provide loan financing, small grants, and technical assistance for grocery retail and other food businesses throughout the state.
It will help finance grocery store development in low-access areas and support the development of food businesses across the value chain. This fund will help to increase food access while at the same time helping entrepreneurs develop sustainable businesses throughout Michigan.
What opportunities do you see for moving towards the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter and where do you see those leading in the next five to ten years?
MF: The Michigan Good Food Fund, by supporting food business development, is making sure that businesses have the support that they need to be successful in the future and that there is better good food infrastructure to improve healthy food access. In addition to financing, the Fund will provide the technical assistance needed for businesses to have knowledge of and access to the markets that their businesses need to grow, develop, and thrive.
What is one thing you’ve learned through your experience with working towards the goals of the Good Food Charter that you’d like to share with others?
MF: I think that the main thing to remember is that patience is key – none of this happens overnight. Food system work truly requires not only collaboration with others, but also dedication and patience to stay in it for the long haul.