Eastern U.P. Food Hub (EUP Food Hub)
News from the Eastern Region
Come learn about different livestock environmental concerns in the EUP and how the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) can help address those concerns.
More News & Announcements
The primary goal of the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP) Food Hub, which encompasses Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties, is to develop and implement strategies that will help support the viability and sustainability of EUP Agriculture and food production. Our regional growers and producers face a number of challenges and opportunities and we believe a solid, producer/agency driven collaborative can have a very positive, short- and long-term impact. The goal is to see growers/food producers earn more from food production and to make locally produced food more available to restaurants, schools and other institutions in the EUP.
While many organizations were working with farmers and institutions to address barriers and help them capitalize on opportunities, the formal collaboration began in late 2010. MSU Extension, Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District and several interested individuals came together to talk about how to move work forward in a more coordinated manner.
A small grant from the Les Cheneaux Community Foundation allowed the informal coordinating committee to gather some data from farmers through a small survey and series of local meetings with producers and other interested parties. These meetings culminated in the first EUP Local Food Summit in November 2011.
Through these meetings and the EUP Local Food Summit, needs were identified in the following areas:
- Consumer education, develop stronger demand for local products
- Sustain and expand regional food production
- Connect institutional customers with local producers
- Attract new, young farmers and help them develop support networks
- Develop regional aggregation and distribution infrastructure
- Develop regional processing facilities (dairy, meat, value-added)
- Address legislative and regulatory obstacles that create barriers for local production and consumption
In addition, the Central and Eastern UP Food Hubs are collaborating with the Sault Tribe Community Transformation Grant Project. The Community Transformation Grant was awarded to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September 2011. One goal of this grant is to increase the availability, accessibility, affordability and identification of healthy foods. The EUP Food Hub has worked closely with this program to best leverage the tasks they are completing through this grant. This has been a good balance as the EUP Food Hub project has come at the issues mostly from the producer and institution viewpoint, the Sault Tribe grant is focusing on the food access and health/nutrition pieces.
We are excited that this work has grown to have a coordinated effort in the Western, Central and Eastern UP, as well as the coordinating efforts of the UP Food Exchange.
For more information, to learn about local events, volunteer for a committee, share your stories, or join our email list, contact:
MSU Extension Community Food Systems Educator
319 Court Street, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783