Plan Overview

Topic Area: Local Agenda Priorities

1. Expand and increase innovative methods to bring healthy foods to underserved areas as well as strategies to encourage their consumption.Farmers’ markets: identify funds, increase numbers
Community garden programs: provide education and startup funding, university partnerships, knowledge sharing, startup funding
Food delivery program: expanding food delivery from farms as well as businesses; assessment of these projects
Incubator kitchens: encouraged across Michigan as a tool for small-scale processing and new product development, inventory created/assessment
Community kitchens: Michigan State University Extension and non-profit organizations should establish and support community kitchens around the state
Food Security; Food Availability (retailers); Alternative Food Distribution Tactics; Farmers Markets; Community Food Growing;

2. Improve school food environments and reduce school sales of low-nutrient, highsugar, high-fat and calorie-dense foods through snack and vending machines or competitive food sales.

New strategies for competitive foods: look for ways to make school food service less dependent on competitive food and vending sales and to expand opportunities for offering healthy food
Farm-to-school: provide professional development training in local purchasing and access to farm to-school purchasing guides and manuals
Develop grant guidelines for public and private agencies: that place priority on school-based nutrition education and community food projects — suggests specific guidelines
Youth engagement: Dept of Ed & community orgs partner to develop and provide training and resources to school districts that support meaningful participation and effective engagement of youth in school food health initiatives

Nutrition & Health; Food in Public Institutions; Food in Schools; Good/Local Food Economies;
Public Procurement; Food & Nutrition Literacy;

3. Maximize use of current public benefit programs for vulnerable populations, especially children and seniors, and link them with strategies for healthy food access.

3.1. Farmers’ market coupons: SNAP expansion, matching; Incentives for Michigan-grown food
3.2. Expanding SNAP benefit application opportunities: Install internet kiosks, train representatives to assist with applications
3.3. Bridge Card acceptance at farmers’ markets: expand acceptance of MI Bridge Cards at farmers markets
3.4. Implementing WIC regulations at corner stores: helping corner stores and markets implement new guidelines re: fresh produce
3.5. Maximizing public benefit programs: Outreach to underenrolled groups
3.6. Michigan Agricultural Surplus System (MASS): support program, which procures unmarketable produce for use in food banks; education businesses about Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (no liability for businesses who donate food!)

Food Security; Food Access (consumer); Food & Income Assistance (SNAP, WIC, etc.);
Purchasing Power (consumers); Alternative Food Distribution Tactics;
Farmers Markets;

4. Provide outreach, training and technical assistance to launch new grocery stores and improve existing stores to better serve people in urban and rural underserved areas.

Improving and increasing grocery stores: increase number and quality of grocery stores, expand their purchases of Michigan foods. Eg. P.A. 231 calls for commercial property tax incentives to encourage new food businesses in underserved areas. Providing technical assistance, research, financing help, and communication for launching grocery stores. Detroit Grocer Project: address historical racism re: business opportunities for black residents.
Healthy corner stores: developing infrastructure (such as refrigeration units and display bins), capacity (such as delivery options) and financing so that corner stores can stock fresh produce and other healthy foods

Food Security;
Food Availability (retailers); Retail Zoning; Retailer Market Access; Small Business Support;

5. Establish food business districts to encourage food businesses to locate in the same area and to support their collaboration

Food Security;
Food Availability (retailers);
Retail Zoning; Good/Local Food Economies;

6. Use policy and planning strategies to increase access to healthy food in underserved areas.

Food policy councils: establish at local level, including community residents, farmers, businesses, local units of government, and food, health, anti-hunger and food justice advocates
Zoning for urban agriculture: update zoning and other ordinances to allow and promote urban agriculture and other initiatives that expand access to good food.
Planning for food access: integrate good food access in plans related to housing, transportation, employment, and economic/community development. Emphasize focus on food access for planners.

Food Access (consumer); Food Availability (retailers);
Public transport (infrastructure); Food Security; Community Food Growing; Good/Local Food Economies; Good Food Governance; Food System Coordination; Networks/Bodies/Council (FPCs); Urban Garden Zoning & Regulations; Housing Access;

7. Review and seek appropriate revisions to state and local land use policies to preserve farmland and blend protection with farm viability programs.

Introducing Public Act 116 lien recapture legislation as an incentive to farmers to pay back their liens; provide discountes for repayment and use money towards State Agriculture Preservation Program for farmland preservation
Widening options to raise funds for farmland preservation by amending state law to enable local real estate transfer taxes.
Targeting farmland preservation on the basis of highest vulnerability to development and local government partnerships and plans for maintaining agricultural viability.

Land Access;
Preserving Farmland; Financing/Affordability, Land; Agriculture & Food Production;
8. Encourage institutions – including schools, hospitals, colleges and universities – to use their collective purchasing power to influence the food supply chain to provide healthier foods and more foods grown, raised and processed in Michigan.Good/Local Food Economies;
Public Procurement; Nutrition & Health;
Food in Public Institutions;
Food in Schools;

Topic Area: Statewide Agenda Priorities


9. Expand opportunities for youth to develop entrepreneurship skills and learn about career opportunities related to good food that support youth and community economic development.

Launching a Michigan Good Food Corps initiative that matches Michigan students to apprenticeships with farmers, food system entrepreneurs and non-profits through the Michigan Works! Summer Youth Employment Program.
Developing career exploration and job shadowing opportunities focused on good food through Junior Achievement, Gear UP, Upward Bound, 4-H, the Michigan State University Multicultural Apprenticeship Program and similar programs.
Building on agriculture, food and natural resource education efforts such as secondary agriscience and natural resource programs – Agriscience, Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). For example, promote experiential learning in specialty crop or pasture-based livestock production and direct marketing.

Workforce Development;
School Curricula;
Training & Education, General; Agriculture & Food Production; Training & Education, Agriculture; Livestock & Dairy

10. Establish Michigan as “the place to be” for culturally based good food that is locally grown, processed, prepared and consumed.

Innovation angels: Venture capitalists, businesses, etc. encouraged to support sustainabile businesses in the food system. Public institutions can convene this group of funders along with stakeholders to generate ideas.
Cultural leaders: We can identify and cultivate leaders, including community experts, to help Michigan residents make more forward-thinking choices… leveraging organizations to shape diverse body of experts.
Food and Farming Corps: Create corps program for college students hosted by local college or University

Culture Shift (Good Food Movement); University programs; Good/Local Food Economies; Funding & Investment Strategies; Good Food Governance;

11. Incorporate good food education into the pre-K through 12th grade curriculum for all Michigan students.

Integrating food-focused curriculum into state-level standards (science, social studies).
Enable local districts to assess the needs and resources found locally to support integration of good food concepts into curriculum.
Facilitate district planning and implementation of food-system-based K-12 curriculum with state, local and community partners.

Culture Shift (Good Food Movement); School Curricula; Legislation;

12. Implement a reimbursement program to provide an additional 10 cents per school meal, as a supplement to existing school meal funds, in order to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Nutrition & Health;
Food in Public Institutions; Food in Schools; Good/Local Food Economies;
Public Procurement; Legislation;

13. Amend Michigan’s General Property Tax Act to exempt certain on-farm renewable energy installations.

Making geothermal, micro-hydro, bio-based co-generation, wind and solar installations exempt would encourage innovation on farms. Should receive support from Michigan’s green energy sector. Would also support Michigan’s strategy to become a manufacturing hub for renewable energy equipment.

Land & Resource Use; Energy; Legislation; Climate Mitigation;

14. Set targets for state-funded institutions to procure Michigan-grown, sustainably produced products.
These targets should give preference to small- and medium-scale farms using sustainable practices (e.g. verified by the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program)
Agriculture & Food Production; Good/Local Food Economies;
Public Procurement; Sustainable Agriculture; Climate Mitigation; Legislation;

15. Direct $10 million to regional food supply chain infrastructure development investments through the Michigan state planning and development regions or other existing regional designations.

Funds should go to qualified regional authorities for regional investment rather than to individual grantees scattered statewide.
Regional authorities would make funds available to public and private initiatives in the context of a regional strategy with input from food, farm, and other business and community development interests. Competitive applications would require business investment and collaboration that fit the regional strategy.
Regional authorities would also grant other incentives available for improving food system infrastructure, such as tax credits for equipment purchases.

Good Food Governance; Food System Coordination; Supply Chain Infrastructure; Regional Coordination; Funding & Investment Strategies;

16. Implement a food safety audit cost-share or reimbursement program targeted at small and medium-sized farms and work to ensure that audits are conducted in the context of the farm scale.

One way to do this could be by developing a flat rate or sliding-scale reimbursement program for small and medium-sized farms to offset costs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Good Agricultural Practices/Good Handling Practices and other third-party food safety audits. The New York State Good Agricultural Practices/Good Handling Practices Certification Assistance Program can serve as a model for a similar program in Michigan, which could be funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. We can also ensure that standards are applied in a manner that recognizes specific circumstances and alternative strategies for achieving the same end – a safe food supply with minimal levels of risk to the consumer.

Good/Local Food Economies; Agriculture & Food Production; Farm & Producer Business Support; Food Safety;

17. Provide financial incentives for farmers and for development of food system infrastructure to support institutional local food purchasing programs.

One possibility is to offer tax incentives for the development of local food storage, processing, packing and distribution facilities. Another is to develop a grant or low-interest loan program to facilitate farmers’ transition from production of commodity crops to production of specialty crops for sale to institutions.

Agriculture & Food Production; Farm & Producer Business Support; Good/Local Food Economies; Public Procurement; Producer market access; Supply Chain Infrastructure;

18. Develop a farm-to-institution grant program to provide planning, implementation, and kitchen or cafeteria equipment grants to maximize the use of locally grown, raised and processed foods in institutional cafeterias.
Would require the creation of a new program administered by the state or a public private alliance. Philanthropic organizations could also play a role in generating funding. Grants could be directed to institutions for planning, implementation and equipment for local food purchasing and use in cafeterias. The Rozo McLaughlin Farm to School Grant Program in Vermont, which is coordinated by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, can serve as a model for a Michigan-based grant program.

Good/Local Food Economies; Public Procurement; Food in Public Institutions; Producer market access;

19. Direct state agencies to maximize capital access through state-sponsored programs that provide farm financing.

Agriculture Individual Development Accounts: Agriculture Individual Development Account Trust Fund (AgIDA) endowed by philanthropic & public funds, plus application fees and interest, to assist beginning and limited-resource farmers.
Beginning farmer loan fund: Using bond sales, then self-funded with borrower application and closing fees, for farmers with net worth <$500k.
Loan guarantees: Michigan Economic Developm Corporation (MEDC) Capital Access Program (CAP) to underwrite banks’ loans to new farmers; expand MEDC Angel Investment tool to include agriculture.
Farm financial planning: set aside portion of specialty crop block grant funds to support small-scale farmers with whole farm financial planning in order to help secure loans, resources, etc.

Agriculture & Food Production; Farm & Producer Business Support; Young, Beginning, and Small (YBS) Farmers; Land Access; Financing/Affordability, Land;

20. Ensure that all state and higher education, business, work force and economic development programs include farming and agriculture in their target audiences for programmatic development, training, investment and technical assistance.

Regional alliances: Use existing skill-building funds to create statewide sustainable agriculture sector alliance focusing on career opportunities in the sector.
Farm apprenticeships: Use workforce development funds to support paid apprenticeship programs create by regional alliances; couple with programs at State Universities.
Expand farmer training programs: State universities could partner with other orgs to expand existing organic farming programs (Organic Farming Training Program at MSU)
Research on season extension: Help innovate to expand growing season; urban farming opportunities. U.S. Department of Labor State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grant funds could be used.
Emerging markets: Encourage Michigan producers to seek out and supply emerging markets; certified organic and pasture-based animal products especially.

Agriculture & Food Production; Farm & Producer Business Support; Workforce Development;
Training & Education, General; Training & Education, Agriculture; Research & Innovation;

21. Contingent upon further market assessment, establish a state meat and poultry inspection (MPI) program in cooperation with the federal Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) to spur new meat processing infrastructure.
Michigan can target limited funding for a state MPI program by focusing on gaps in service across the state and on particular market needs and opportunities in meat processing. Steps to take include assessing the capacity and geographic accessibility of meat processing facilities and estimating the number of new processing facilities, including lower cost mobile units, that markets would support and the scale at which they could operate profitably.
Good/Local Food Economies; Producer market access; Supply Chain Infrastructure; Food Processing;

22. Include Michigan food and agriculture in existing state marketing efforts, such as the Pure Michigan campaign, to build awareness of the state’s great variety and quality of local food products and farm amenities.

Good/Local Food Economies; Local brand promotion; Culture Shift (Good Food Movement); Public Messaging & Marketing;

23. Charge business support entities, such as the 18 Michigan Technical Education Centers, with identifying and supporting the equipment and process engineering needs of farmers and other agri-food enterprises and ensure that food and agriculture are included in state and local economic development plans.
Policymakers at all levels can take the lead by requesting that entities that provide technical assistance investigate and support the food system infrastructure development needs of all players – small, medium and large. Policymakers can also help ensure that representatives from food and agriculture sectors are included in discussions and plans for state and local economic development.
Good Food Governance; Food System Coordination; Agriculture & Food Production; Farm & Producer Business Support; Training & Education, Agriculture; Small Business Support;

24. Examine Michigan’s food- and agriculture-related laws and regulations (food safety, production, processing, retailing, etc.) for provisions that create unnecessary transaction costs and regulatory burdens on low risk businesses and ensure that regulations are applied in a way that acknowledges the diversity of production practices.

Federal and state laws must be revised so that local and state authorities charged with protecting public health and natural resources can match the level of oversight with the level of relative risk. The state’s academic institutions can take the lead in assessing the impact of current food- and agriculture-related laws and regulations on farm and agri-food businesses of various sizes.

Business regulations; Producer market access; Good/Local Food Economies; Supply Chain Infrastructure; Small Business Support;

25. Develop systems for collecting and sharing production and market data and other data relevant to regional food supply chain development.

Part of this data collection should include a state-level survey program to collect, manage and analyze food purchasing data from Michigan institutions. The Michigan Food Policy Council could assist state agencies to incorporate questions on local purchasing into current reporting mechanisms. Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station researchers could manage data collation and analysis.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) can use its long-standing collaboration with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service to initiate a series of surveys to provide benchmark and ongoing information such as the number of farms engaged in local and regional food markets and the market value of sales and production volume involved. USDA interest in collecting this information has increased in recent years – for example, statistics on direct marketing and organic farming have been added to the Census of Agriculture
Lawmakers and MDA officials can also work with Michigan State University to establish benchmarks and ongoing information about local and regional food demand, including attributes that consumers are looking for and whether supply is meeting that demand. Federal funding for agricultural research could be leveraged for the upfront cost of developing and establishing such data collection.

Good Food Governance; Food System Coordination; Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning; Public Procurement; Producer Market Access;

Plan Information

CategoryDatabase entry
Plan RegionMichigan
Publication Date2010
Entry reviewed by original authorYes
PDF attachmentView Full Report
Plan TitleMichigan Good Food Charter
Author(s)C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University (later renamed Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems), Food Bank Council of Michigan, and the Michigan Food Policy Council
Author Type University; Non-Profit; Network
Region Type State
Funding Sources Foundations
FundersW.K. Kellogg Foundation (principle)
Total Project BudgetApproximately $245,000 to support the a full-time coordinator and 20% time for 12 co-conveners of 6 workgroups as well as to host a statewide summit.
Plan GoalsTo reemphasize their “local and regional food systems, alongside national and global ones” (p. 1) as a means to promote:- A strong economy: “Our farms and food business sustain farmers, owners and workers and contribute to vibrant Michigan communities” (p. 8);- Equity: “All people have access to good, Michigan-grown food, and our young people can thrive” (p. 8); and- Sustainability: “We have a diverse and resilient food system that protects our cultural, ecological and economic assets” (p. 8).
To achieve these goals, this plan calls for the need to grow, sell and eat “good food” that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable (p. 1).
They outline six key goals to reach their vision by 2020:
“1. Michigan institutions will source 20% of their food product from Michigan growers, producers, and processors.
2. Michigan farmers will profitably supply 20% of all Michigan institutional, retailer, and consumer food purchases and be able to pay fair wages to their workers.
3. Michigan will generate new agri-food businesses at a rate that enables 20% of food purchased in Michigan to come from Michigan.
4. 80% of Michigan residents (twice the current level) will have easy access to affordable, fresh, healthy food, 20% of which is from Michigan sources.
5. Michigan Nutrition Standards will be met by 100% of school meals and 75% of schools selling food outside school meal programs.
6. Michigan schools will incorporate food and agriculture into the pre-K through 12th grade curriculum for all Michigan students and youth will have access to food and agriculture entrepreneurial opportunities” (p. 2).
Intended AudienceDiverse audience: policymakers, government, business, community
Plan Recommendation StructureThis Charter presents 25 policy priority areas, each with specific strategies. 
The areas are organized by area and sector. They are either:1. “Local Agenda Priorities” under “Market-based,” Land use-based,” or “Community-based,” or2. “Statewide Agenda Priorities” under “Business or non-profit-based,” “Legislation-based, “State agency-based” or “Research-based.”
Catalyst for PlanThe 2006 recommendations from the Michigan Food Policy Council were seen as limited in scope (directed toward the state executive branch only) and the process of developing the recommendations had not generated wide-scale buy-in across sectors and stakeholder groups. The Charter was intended to generate a broader set of goals and priorities developed through a more participatory process.
Creation ProcessThe creation process of the Charter was stewarded by a planning committee and supported by an honorary advisory committee. Work groups were created and lead by twelve co-conveners.
Starting in September 2009, work groups examined Michigan’s current food system and developed opportunities to advance “good food” in Michigan. The work group co-conveners were tasked with engaging stakeholders from across the state to identify key needs and opportunities in a particular domain of the food system.
At the Michigan Good Food Summit in February 2010, each work group presented a “draft action agenda” to be workshopped with the 350 summit participants. Participant feedback informed a draft of the charter, which was then shared out broadly for another round of feedback.
The creation of served as a platform to share documents, comments and feedback, and links to listservs.
Theoretical Framework(s) Employed  Collective Impact Framework
Theoretical Framework(s): Additional LiteratureUnspecified
Development Timeline1 year
Implementation StrategyThe Charter’s implementation strategy is integrated into the strategies, and each priority action area includes various levels of implementation specificity.
Implementation Timeline10 years (by 2020). A 2022 Charter available in this database. 
Evaluation StrategyBiennial report cards with a narrative on progress towards 6 goals and 25 agenda priorities.
International Development Framework(s)None
Current Plan StatusUpdated
Government Adoption StatusNot Adopted
Government Adoption Status (Notes)The Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services signed a Resolution of Support for the Charter.
Supplemental Documents View Supplemental Documents