Traverse City Record-Eagle

Other Views

July 11, 2012

Another View: Local movement benefits state

It's a simple idea, really: Eating foods grown close to home is healthier.

Fresh produce eaten shortly after harvest has more nutrients, which is healthier for the eater. And it requires less transportation, which is healthier for the environment.

Not only that, eating locally produced food keeps more money circulating through local hands, generating jobs that keep Michiganders working — it's healthier for the economy.

Yet somehow, Michigan has not quite seized this opportunity to help itself.

The state that put the world on wheels is justifiably proud of its manufacturing heritage. But it should be equally proud of its rich agricultural heritage.

Agriculture is booming business, a vital sector of the state's economy. A March report from Michigan State University says the state's food and agriculture industries placed the economic impact at $91 billion.

Michigan is second only to California in the diversity of its agricultural operations; in 2010, it was the nation's top producer of cucumbers for pickles, squash, blueberries and tart cherries; it's among the top producers of carrots, asparagus, apples and sweet cherries.

Yet, most Michiganders don't savor enough locally grown foods on their own tables. And not enough Michiganders speak proudly of this bounty, certainly not the way Californians celebrate their harvest as elevating their quality of life and as a tourism draw.

Fortunately, bright minds are working on how to change that, and their game plan, the Michigan Good Food Charter, is worth reading. It highlights the urgency, particularly as the state's farmers age, putting future production question. And it offers strategies for strengthening local food systems and supporting increased demand for local food by nurturing new ag-related businesses.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, who chairs the Senate's Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, notes that if every household spent just $10 on locally grown food, that would put $40 million back into the state's economy. Stabenow is a key leader on creating better farm policies, and the farm bill under consideration in Congress right now includes a number of efforts that will help Michigan, including increased support for local food hubs, farmers markets and community gardens.

Enjoying Michigan's fresh harvest will help boost the state's economy and its health — a delicious reward for all.

-- Lansing State Journal

1
Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl