It’s a wrap; Food and agricultural businesses gather to learn about the benefits of a “Farm to Fork” ecosystem

The Macomb Food Collaborative hosted the All about Food: Farm to Fork Conference here in Macomb County last week.  The conference attracted participants from across southeastern Michigan.

The morning started with a five person panel talking about their experiences in the industry.  They talked about services for business startups, growth, economic development and resources available to people looking to expand a business. The panel consisted of:

  • Jack Johns – project coordinator for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. Jack pecializes in servicing the food and agricultural industry. He helps attract, retain, and grow businesses in Macomb County
  • Terri Barker – Economic/Community Development Analyst, Agriculture Development Division for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Terri works with businesses to help them expand utilizing state programs and services.
  • Jess Youngblood – Owner of Youngblood Vineyard. Although the vineyard (first-ever in Macomb County) and winery is not open for business just yet, Jess discussed how her longtime dream is coming together. She discussed the struggles and joys of starting their own business. Youngblood Vineyard plans to open to the public next year.
  • Andy More – owner of Cap n’ Corks discussed how he has grown his business from a local beverage supply store and will soon be opening Caps N’ Corks brewing which will produce their own beer and wine.
  • Patricia Moore – Brown Iron Brewhouse discussed how the business has grown so much over the last three years and how they have been able to give back to the community.

The day was filled with a wealth of information during the breakout sessions.  The topics ranged from food safety; starting a business; vegetable gardening; soil health and testing. Several sessions were demonstrations about cooking, healthy eating and local gardening.

macomb food colaborativeSeveral students from L’Anse Creuse’s Pankow Center presented how to make a bubble bucket, best management practices, growing your own herb, harvesting and preserving. Students presented a powerpoint, while showing participants how to build their bucket, and test for nutrient requirements. Students brought their lavender, lettuce and basil plants for participants to see how well anyone can grow herbs in their own home.

Lunch included homemade specialties from Henry Ford Health SystemsDorsey Culinary SchoolWestview Orchards and the Clean Plate.  The products served were amazing and Westview Orchards and the Clean Plate would love to see new customers stop in and visit their family-owned businesses.

Check out more event photos at 

The event was hosted by the Macomb Food Collaborative, a non-profit organization that works to ensure access to safe, fresh, fair and healthy food for all. It promotes a vibrant, local food economy, sustainability and good nutrition through education, outreach and support.

For more information on starting or growing your food and agriculture business in Macomb County – contact Jack Johns.  He can connect you to the resources you need.  He specializes in Food and Agriculture, as well as automation, connected vehicles, robotics, energy and retail businesses.

Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Discover Leadership Macomb

Discover how graduates are transformed both personally and professionally by enrolling in the Leadership Macomb XXII 2018-2019 program which runs Sept. 19, 2018 through June 5, 2019. The application deadline is July 1. Junior Leadership Macomb applications are also now being accepted. This program is offered for high school juniors in Macomb County. Visit for more information.

For 20 years, the organization has been instrumental in helping both emerging and accomplished leaders expand their network and enhance their knowledge of local systems, assets and issues as well as their individual commitment to work toward the common goal of strengthening Macomb County. Leadership Macomb graduates are invaluable resources and key contributors to the entire region.

Leadership Macomb is the ultimate platform for bringing private, public and nonprofit sectors together to experience the county, connect and collaborate with each other, and become engaged locally and beyond.

Prospective candidates for the program are welcome to join LM Alumni on June 6, 2018 to learn more about the program at our graduation for class LM XXI! Learn more or register at

Diane Banks is the program director for Leadership Macomb.

Another Macomb Business Awards breakfast is in the books! Next year’s date is…

Department director John Paul Rea welcomed nearly 400 guests to The Mirage in Clinton Township on Feb 27 for our 6th annual event. He introduced keynote speaker Cheryl Carrier from Ford NGL who provided an inspiring overview how a community can coalesce to help our young people discover careers that match their abilities, interests and desired lifestyle.

Emcees Huel Perkins and Charlie Langton did a stellar job as Mark Hackel and Deputy Director Vicky Rad presented crystal awards to this year’s recipients.

This year’s recipients were

Champion of Workforce Development
St. John Providence

Corporate Citizen
First State Bank

Diversification Leader
RCO Engineering, Inc.

Model of OneMacomb
AGS Automotive

Startup Business to Watch
Rose-A-Lee Technologies

Watch the video profiles of each of our finalist – .  Scroll through photos from this years event!

Aside from the nominated and reviewed organizations, the department also awarded the “Economic Development Partner of the Year” to the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

The department has always worked closely with base personnel but 2017 was an exceptional year! When we learned that the base was one of five being considered to home the new F-35 Fighter Jet, department staff worked closely with Brigadier General John D. “Odie” Slocum and his leadership team. Our objective was to build public support. One of the first accomplishments was to create a dedicated website with the help of HunchFree.  Once the website was ready, an all-out social media and advertising campaign was launched to create buzz.

Together, the team solicited support from the entire state of Michigan at the annual Mackinac Policy.  The department also created a 144-page prospectus for incoming evaluators from the U.S. Air Force. Although many were surprised and disappointed to learn that Selfridge had not been selected, our entire department remains confident that Selfridge will continue to be an important partner in economic development well into the future of Macomb County.

The Macomb Business Awards was sponsored by Automation Alley, Clark Construction Company, Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals, Jarvis Property Restoration and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation with support from First State Bank, Omega HR, the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber and many others.

SAVE the DATE! Next year’s awards program has been scheduled for Friday, February 22, 2019 Nominations for next year’s awards program will open in October. Stay tuned for details!

Are you a foodie? Learn, connect and eat at the All About Food Conference on March 20th

basic-loga_origThis year’s event highlights the Macomb County food system and will be held at the Macomb Community Action’s Family Resource Center located at 196 North Rose Street, Mount Clemens, MI.  (Formerly Washington Elementary School.)

Registration begins at 8 a.m. The event kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a panel of Macomb County food and beverage business owners. Each will offer insight about their businesses and the role they play in supporting locally sourced for their food and beverage products. The panel will include voices from a vineyard, brewing supply store and a brew house/restaurant.

As any local food conference attendee would hope, a locally sourced and prepared lunch will be provided as part of the cost of attendance. Guests can expect a delicious spread from meal contributors including Henry Ford Health Systems, Dorsey Culinary School, Westview Orchards and the Clean Plate.

The conference attracts participants from across southeastern Michigan region. Breakout sessions offer a range of choices. Gardeners and farmers may take interest in the basic vegetable gardening, soil health and testing, and a garden in a bucket sessions. Schools and other institutions will be represented with farm to school, feeding the whole child, and food safety sessions. Those that take interest in local food from an environmental standpoint may find themselves attending sessions on disappearing farms and farmland and closed loop systems. Other sessions will address a myriad of food related topics including: legislative advocacy, starting businesses, vegetarianism, and local produce in USDA designated food deserts.

For a complete schedule visit this link.

Time is running out to register! Early bird registration is open through March 16th, with a fee of $25. To register online: A very limited number of walk-ins will be accepted on the day of the conference, with a fee of $35.

The event is hosted by the Macomb Food Collaborative, a non-profit organization

That works to ensure access to safe, fresh, fair and healthy food for all. It promotes a vibrant, local food economy, sustainability and good nutrition through education, outreach and support.

Baker College: Choosing the Path to Employment in Macomb County

bakerct-entrance-2.jpgSince 1990, Baker College of Clinton Township has maintained its role in the community by offering one of the most affordable 4-year  public or private college experiences in Michigan, including certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level degrees. We graduate diligent, dedicated students that are ready to work, and whose academic experiences have been molded by Michigan employers. Our curriculum is influenced by employer advisory boards consisting of professionals in the field, which ensures the support of real-world programming that matches the ever-evolving demands of the workforce. Students can also meet the challenges of busy schedules by taking advantage of course offerings though our Online campus to supplement their on-ground studies.

Baker College students live in the community, have a desire to work locally, and therefore have a vested interest in seeing their environment thrive. They are taught to think on their feet, identify problems and formulate efficient solutions by completing Career Experience as part of their degree requirements regardless of major. Our Career Experience partners in all degree areas, especially Health Care, Management, IT and, Business Services, offer cutting edge experiences in areas that are focused on industry trends and areas of growth. Additionally, over 36% of our students accept offers of full-time employment at their Career Experience site.

Our small class sizes contribute to student success.  Passage rates for graduates of Baker College programs which require licensure are higher than state and national averages. In reporting from June 2017 graduates earned 100% pass rates in nursing, dental hygiene, radiation technology, and surgical technology. Tests are not the only measure of success. Baker College has been defending their Cyber Defense Championship title since 2008, with six State, two Regional and two National Championships. We were voted to have the #1 Nursing Program in Michigan for 2016, by, with a 100% percent pass rate of state boards and a 100% employment rate. We also take great pride in serving our community as hosts of the premier Dental Hygiene clinic in the Baker College system that is open to the public, providing low cost dental services including cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatment and exams to children and adults in Macomb County. Call (586) 790-5238 to make an appointment.

In addition to our robust academic programs, Baker College offers 100 degree programs including those through our Auto Diesel Institute and the Baker College Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM). A CIM student has won the Michigan Chefs De Cuisine Association Student Chef of the Year for three consecutive years. Furthermore, the CIM boasts a talented and accomplished group of alumni, including the latest winner of Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Kimberly Ann Ryan recently demolished the competition on the popular reality TV competition, scoring an esteemed position with The Venetian’s Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Las Vegas — worth approximately $250,000.

Even with the growth in populous and business in Macomb County, savvy investors in their own education should be motivated to choose an institution with affordably priced tuition, career-focused curriculum and an easy campus commute. By selecting the premier four year college in your backyard, Baker College makes it easy to take the path to employment in Macomb County. After all, Baker College does not graduate students–we graduate BakerProud© students.