What’s Good Part 2: The Movement to Buy Local Food

There's a movement gaining momentum across the country and especially here in northern Michigan. More people are making the conscious effort to buy locally grown food. In part two of our series, What's Good About Northern Michigan, 9&10 News focuses on the movement that is thriving even as the economy wasn't. Cherry Capital Foods is a local food distributor in Traverse City. The business hunts down local meats, cheeses, and produce and then sells the food to markets and restaurants. The business is young, but continues to grow. “It's really been a growing market because the awareness and the demand for the local food is increasing,” says Evan Smith, Senior Operations Manager for Cherry Capital Foods. The push to buy local has been motivated by several factors. One is the realization of the economic impact. A recent study done by a leadership group with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce finds that up to 50-million dollars could be pumped back into the local economy if everyone in the area buys locally grown food. “People are starting to realize how important it is that the dollar we spend at this store stays locally in this community,” says Janice Benson, Marketing Director for the annual Taste the Local Difference publication. The guide lists all the region's farms and helps people find where to buy locally grown food. “The local foods movement is thriving in northern Michigan,” she says. Besides the economic impact, people are noticing that locally grown food is often healthier, and tastier. One chef that can attest to the local “taste” is Eric Patterson, Chef of the Cooks' House in Traverse City. “About 95 percent of our menu is local,” he says. “From a chef's point of view it makes sense because if I can get lettuce that was picked yesterday it's going to taste ten times better than lettuce two weeks ago, shipped across country, then served.” Patterson displays a chalk board filled with all the farms where he finds the ingredients he uses. 9&10's Ryan Raiche and Photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have part two of What's Good About Northern Michigan: the Movement to Buy Local Food. [i]The 2010 Taste the Local Difference Guide will be available later this week. For more information on the economic impact of buying local, check out a free event going on Tuesday, May 18th at the Dennos Museum from 6:30-8pm. The event is focused on how buying local can boost the local economy.[/i]

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