U.P. Food Network

We've seen a lot of great energy focusing on local, healthy food and food systems in this last year...

The Ryan Street Community Garden (RSCG) had the honor of participating in the Keweenaw's first annual Food Day celebration in October.

Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Food Day, created by Center for Science in the Public Interest, is powered by a diverse coalition of food movement leaders, organizations, and people from all walks of life. Food Day takes place annually on October 24 to address issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice. The ultimate goal of Food Day is to strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies.
Community gardener, Beth Murrell, hosting the RSCG table at the first annual Keweenaw Food Day celebration.

RSCG is excited to be part of these local efforts to build a strong regional food system in the Upper Peninsula. In January, Natasha Lantz from from the Marquette Food Co-op and Michelle Walk from the MSU Extension came to Houghton to talk about the U.P. Food Exchange (UPFE). The goal of UPFE is to connect local food activity within each of the Upper Peninsula's three distinct regions (Eastern, Central, and Western), and to coordinate local food efforts between the regions. The project aims to establish both online and physical aggregations sites for farm products, improve local food storage capacity, and educate consumers, farmers, and institutional purchasers about the resources and benefits available to them via this network. The website will be up soon.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is leading this effort locally to create the Western U.P. Food Hub. UPFE defines a food hub as "a business or organization actively working with farmers and buyers to coordinate supply and demand. This is accomplished through the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified local and regional food products, primarily from micro to mid-sized producers to individuals, wholesalers, retailers, and/or institutional buyers."

For more information about UPFE or the Western U.P. Food Hub visit the links provided above or contact Sara Salo (the Health Education Coordinator at WUPHD) at (906) 482-7382 x114.

The tin man gets a green thumb...

Local artist/designer and Finlandia student, David Sarazin, who participated in the Ryan Street Community Garden's Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs mini-grant this summer, decided to keep the art-in-the-garden focus for his student design studio project this fall by refurbishing an abandoned student sculpture for the garden. The "tin man", as he was formally known, has been lurking around the metal shop for years. David repaired and rebuilt the base, creatively outfitted him with hands that hold an oversized rake and shovel, and crowned him with a head that only a gardener could love. We look forward to installing him in his new home once the snow melts this spring. Thanks David!

A refurbished tin man ready for the garden. 

Before his garden makeover.