Fresh from the Capitol
Nearly 50 Michigan farmers and vendors set up their tents, tables and products on the east lawn of the Capitol to celebrate a special farmers’ market for the third annual “Buy Fresh, Buy Local – Select Michigan Day” on Sept. 13.
The colors, scents and energy of Michigan’s September harvest overwhelmed the area around the Capitol building as growers from all over the state gathered there, selling their Michigan-grown and produced products. Consumers at the farmers’ market met with their local farmers and selected from a wide array of products, including fresh veggies and salad greens, onions, garlic, pumpkins, gourds, grapes, raspberries, apples, pears, cut or potted flowers and plants, honey, maple syrup, spices, herbs, wool products, baked goods, jams and jellies, relishes and sauces and more.
“We’ve been building momentum each year with ‘Select Michigan Day,’ and this is the largest market we’ve had yet,” said Elaine Brown, executive director of Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS). “It’s really a great opportunity to connect farmers and consumers and experience the benefits of locally grown food.”
The farmers’ market, co-hosted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Select Michigan Program and the Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS), with funding from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and additional support from the Michigan Farmers Market Association and the Food Bank Council of Michigan. Each partner connects Michigan farmers to their state community and raises awareness and enthusiasm for local food and Michigan agriculture.
Michigan agriculture, especially now at the peak of many harvests, has much more to offer than some would think. Michigan grows more than 200 agricultural commodities, generating $60.1 billion yearly and making it the second-most diverse state in the nation in agricultural production. Purchasing locally grown products not only delivers more taste and freshness than other produce, which may have traveled 1,500 miles to get to your plate, but also helps strengthen local farmers, communities and the economy. In fact, if every Michigan household spent just $10 per week on Michigan-produced food, it would generate nearly $40 million each and every week.