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Area food summit to be held in Marquette

Gatherings also set for Baraga, Brimley

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula Food Exchange is pleased to announce that three regional Food Summits will be held in November and December.

The summits will bring together diverse stakeholders, providing the opportunity for education, resource sharing, and networking between citizens, businesses, and farms interested in a strong community food system.

The summits will highlight resources that will assist all stakeholders, from matchmaking at a Farmer-Buyer “Meet & Greets” to a presentation on sample language for policy makers.

The first food summit will be held Nov. 6 at the Ojibwa Casino in Baraga from 1-5, the second on Nov. 22 at the Masonic Square in Marquette from 1-4:30 p.m., and third on Dec. 4 at Bay Mills Community College in Brimley from 1-4:30.

All include an introduction to a new online purchasing platform for institutional purchasers; customized break-out sessions for policy makers, consumers/educators, farmers, and businesses that wish to purchase local; a farmer-buyer meet and greet, and other activities to assess the unique needs of each region.

The last time a food summit was held in the U.P. was in 2016. The landscape of local food has changed significantly since then — many new organizations and businesses are interested in local food.

“The food summits are a great way to learn what is happening with local food – and to make new connections,” says Sarah Monte, the UPFE contact in the Central U.P. “We are particularly excited to include the Farmer-Buyer Meet & Greets, which will help match farmers with potential buyers, bringing local food to restaurants, retail, and institutions.”

The U.P. Food Exchange (UPFE) is a Food Hub that coordinates and supports local food activities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. UPFE serves as a resource portal for farmers, businesses, and individuals looking to connect with and actively participate in their local food system.

It is led by the Marquette Food Co-op, in conjunction with MSU Extension, the Western U.P. Planning & Development Region, Michigan Tech University, Portage Health Foundation, Waishkey Bay Farm, Taste the Local Difference, Fresh Systems LLC, the Marquette County Conservation District, and many more.

The summits would not have been possible with support from Bay Mills Community College, the Eastern U.P. Regional Planning & Development Region, Mackinac Economic Development, Ojibwa Casinos, MSU Extension, Cultivate Michigan, and the Michigan Local Food Policy Council Network.

Visit upfoodexchange.com or https://www.facebook.com/UPFoodExchange/ for information, including links to registration for the summits. Questions can be directed to Monte at 906-225-0671, ext. 723.