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.
Several 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 Systems, Dorsey Culinary School, Westview 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 facebook.com/MacombFoodCollaborative/
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.