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A People First Economy Initiative

Through our purchasing habits and business practices, the food system has the capacity to nourish our bodies, our planet, and our neighborhoods. It has the potential to be accessible, equitable, fair, healthy, diverse, and sustainable. To help Michigan work towards this goal, People First Economy has a few small steps you can take in your work life and home life that will promote positive change.

Michigan’s Food Economy in Action

Grower

Heffron Farms is a four generation, family-owned farm offering a variety of naturally raised beef, pork, chicken, and turkey.

Processor

Cellar Door Preserves, creator of small batch artisan preserves, takes great care to learn where their produce comes from!

Distributor

Gordon Water Systems is a second generation, family-owned business that focuses on providing families and businesses with clean, safe water for their homes and businesses.

Retailer

Daddy’s Dough is a family-owned business and food maker specializing in homemade cookies using quality ingredients.

Consumer

GR8 Food Trucks bring consumers together for local curated food truck events across West Michigan.

Waste Management

Perfect Circle Recycling provides an alternative to traditional waste management and helps businesses divert waste from landfills.

Local Action. Global Impact.

Nourish Our Community amplifies the work of the 2022 Michigan Good Food Charter from the Center for Regional Food Systems. The 2022 Charter outlines a shared vision for a good food system in Michigan with six goals, six strategies, and 22 action recommendations. The Charter calls for systemic change by supporting food systems that ensure food is accessible to everyone, promote healthy communities, use fair and sustainable production methods, and support a diverse and equitable society.

In addition to organizations in Michigan, the Nourish Our Community initiative aligns with global efforts to create positive change. The Sustainable Development Goals are outlined by the United Nations Global Compact and recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. What are the SDGs?

Dig Deeper

Engage in Michigan’s Food Economy

Challenge yourself and/or your business with these games to take small actional steps that better Michigan’s good food future. Actions may include:

  • Opportunities to shift your spending to local and values-aligned businesses
  • Learning more about Michigan’s food economy
  • Adjusting your supply chain to include Michigan suppliers

Right click to download these Good For Michigan, Local First and consumer games. Share your progress on social media and be sure to tag @localfirstwestmi and @goodformi.

Make Farmers Black Again

People of color are leading a resurgence of interest in farming in the Northeast, and yet for these farmers, the barriers to starting a farm remain high. Between lending discrimination and rising costs, many obstacles stand in the way of Black Americans looking to own farmland.

What It’s Like Being A Black Business Owner

Black business owners experience losses disproportionate from the average. In fact, while active business owners in general fell by a huge 3.3 million during this past year, the number of Black business owners fell by a staggering 41%. In our local food world, less than 2% of farmers are Black business owners, due to historical and ongoing systemic racism. 

Eating For The Environment

Why do you buy locally-grown food? Is it the flavor and quality? The chance to build community connections and relationships? To support a strong local economy? To have a positive environmental impact? Most likely, it’s some combination of all of the above.

Reclaiming Food Sovereignty

The commonly used term for neighborhoods lacking access to healthy, affordable food is “food desert.” However, Karen Washington, a food justice advocate, is attempting to shift public discourse by coining the term “food apartheid.”

Indigenous Foodways

The Anishinaabe are people of a particular place, as the Indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes. Our identities, histories, spirituality, and traditions are inseparable from our respective ancestral territories. 

Nourish Our Community is powered by these generous partners:

Bridge Street Market is your neighborhood grocery store bringing fresh, affordable, and local products to Grand Rapids’ vibrant West Side and beyond.

Michigan Good Food Fund invests in food and farm entrepreneurs across the state, offering flexible financing and tailored business assistance that supports vibrant, equitable communities.

Fair Food Network is a nonprofit based on the idea that food has the potential to strengthen local economies, nourish communities, and change our shared systems for the better.