Community Food Issues: Sustainable Agricultural in Community Development

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $75,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Mike Hamm
Community, Agriculture, Recreation & Resource Stud


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, networking, workshop, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, leadership development, local and regional food systems, sustainability measures, community development


    Executive Summary

    Throughout Michigan, local groups are broadening the scope of our food system to include health, access, and local economic value. And why not? With Michigan ranked second in the country for diversity of agriculture product, these community groups are connecting food consumers with food growers such that they spur economic vitality of local farmers, create access to healthy foods in some of Michigan’s underserved, densely populated communities, and link food with overall community revitalization.

    In actualizing its mission of “supporting a healthy future where sustainable Michigan farms feed Michigan people and Michigan people support these farms”, the CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University (Mott Group) partners with community groups, policy makers, researchers, growers and consumers to innovate and catalyze a food system that demonstrates access equity, health promotion, and sustainable practices with local vibrancy. As one of its first statewide learning demonstrations, the Community Food Systems Project, funded at $75,000 over a two-year period through the North Central Regional Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program (NCR SARE PDP), enabled the Mott Group to partner with thirteen Michigan communities to stimulate and support community approaches to lessening the distance between food production and food consumption. This report shares the process, outcomes, and implications for investing in this broadening scope of our food system.

    The report is divided into five sections and an Appendix:

    I. Project Description
    II. Project Components
    III. Project Outcomes

    IV. Highlights of the two-year initiative
    V. Leadership roles provided by MSU Extension in the formation and implementation processes

    A. Map
    B. Brief case studies on local community food teams
    C. Policy Consultant Final Report
    D. Retreat Agendas

    Project objectives:

    Project Components

    II. Project Components

    The Community Food Teams’ projects had several dimensions, each designed to build connections among people. Strategic relationship-building within each component of the food system could create networks of people, companies, and institutions that, through their interaction, would increase local supply to meet an increasing local demand. The components are actually the methods, which will be described in the next section.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.