Grant to Expand Area Food Businesses, Access
The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems has received a $450,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to expand the Michigan Food Hub Network, a statewide learning community that helps food hubs become profitable while supplying healthy food to low-income communities in Michigan.
Food hubs are an answer to challenges that can make it difficult for small producers and value-added food businesses to succeed. Michigan is the first state with a state-level food hub network.
“With this renewed award, MSU CRFS will build on Michigan Food Hub Network’s collaboration infrastructure, which gathers food hub managers and business partners throughout Michigan to develop strategies for developing business viability, reaching new markets and increasing food security in Michigan,” said Rich Pirog, MSU CRFS senior associate director.
Pirog said CRFS also will collaborate with neighboring states to help them learn from Michigan’s Food Hub Network model.
Over the next three years, the project will increase buyer-seller relationships and specialized business and technical assistance, emphasizing business collaborations between food hubs and food service directors of institutions – including schools and hospitals.
Small and mid-sized Michigan food entrepreneurs are finding that food hubs are a boon to business viability, and Michigan food hub managers use the Michigan Food Hub Network as a key resource for connecting with producers, processors, financiers, funders and other food hub managers.
Meetings throughout Michigan gather representatives three times per year to build peer relationships and share lessons learned. The network also collaborates to address regional food value chain challenges.
– Andrea Sexton via MSU Today