MIFFS has a long history of helping Michigan farms. Since its inception in 1998, its programs have spanned the gamut of local food systems, from hoophouses to kitchen incubators, from Integrated Pest Management trainings to food safety.
Here are some of our major accomplishments from those programs, many of which have grown into their own entities around the state, working to support our mission in their own capacities:
- Promoting the Multicultural Farmers Program, which has reached hundreds of limited resource farmers, helping them to improve their farming operations, economic viability and resource connections through accessing loans and financing, education and government programs.
- Partnering to develop the Michigan Farmers Market Association, which helps farmers markets thrive as marketplaces for local food and farm products.
- Initiating two kitchen incubators in Hart and Bad Axe, The Starting Block and FoodWorks, which are helping agripreneurs develop successful new products and businesses.
- Educated more than 1,000 farmers on farm and food safety practices, plans and certifications at more than 20 Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) workshops, webinars and farm visits since 2009.
- Establishing the Food & Agri Innovation Center with 50 partners in 2004, which grew into the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources which helps Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture, natural resources, and bioeconomy sectors.
- Co-hosting the “Farmers Markets at the Capitol” with MIFMA for several years, which brings more than 60 vendors and thousands of attendees to the Capitol lawn to purchase Michigan products.
- Coordinating the Meet the Buyers event, where in 2013, more than 400 Michigan growers met with 16 retail and wholesale buyers to initiate new or expanded Michigan produce supply chains.
- Participating in and facilitating discussions about state policy and informing legislative decisions on family farms, sustainable agriculture and local food, like the egg law, Cottage Food law, access to fresh, unprocessed whole milk, poultry/meat processing and farmers market rules.