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


A Michigan Local Food Council Network meeting. (view larger image)

A Michigan Local Food Council Network meeting.

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 Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems expects to offer this opportunity several more times in the next two years.