U.P. Food Exchange meetings this week

One of the more important parts of a community is the local food systems that are in place. The U.P. Food Exchange discussed this and many other things today at the first of three food summits in the U.P.

The U.P. Food Exchange held a food summit Tuesday at Dee Stadium in Houghton to discuss the impact of local food systems. Many speakers came to talk to the crowd of farmers, consumers and local food distributors. Community Planning Manager Ray Sharp from the Western U.P. Health Department said many people would like to be involved.

“We have a lot of great farmer’s markets, small gardens and farmers in the Western U.P. and we’re kind of getting plugged in to what’s been going on across the entire U.P.,” said Sharp.

One of the main talking points was about creating access to food from our local distributors. And it’s not about whether a product is organic or gluten-free. As long it is grown, made, processed or served in the U.P., it is classified as local and that’s what Sharp wants to concentrate on.

“Our interest is to have a sustainable local food system where we can produce more of the food products that we eat here in the Upper Peninsula,” Sharp added.

Among the other organizations at the event were the Michigan State University extension and the Marquette Food Co-Op.  Sessions will take place in Marquette Wednesday and Sault Ste. Marie Thursday.