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Turn up the Volume: Growing Opportunities in Local Food
Turn up the Volume
Turn up the Volume (TUV) is a Fair Food Network project to investigate local and regional food market potential for Michigan’s specialty crop producers and then communicate the findings to the industry via a series of articles and other communications about innovations and investments that are making way for local food in wholesale supply chains.
The project aims to build bridges between the demand and supply sides of local food by highlighting the increasing number of entrepreneurs and opportunities in the middle. The objective is to provide information and connections that can help more entrepreneurs build these opportunities into their business futures.
Related Blog Articles
- TURN UP THE VOLUME:
Growing opportunities in local food
- Local Demand Re-Shaping Market Links from Farmer to Consumer
- Public Health Concerns Spur Produce-Market Growth
- Financing measure could boost farm production in food deserts
- Regional food hubs on the rise with local food markets.
Demand in Michigan for fruits and vegetables from Michigan is greater than the supply available to many buyers.
How can this be? Michigan has the second widest variety of agricultural crops in the nation and ranks at or near the top in production of many crops. The challenge comes with the higher volumes that larger buyers such as schools and grocery stores need.
The wholesale food distribution system that serves these buyers is excellent at moving food from coast to coast and country to country to fulfill year-round demand; however, it is not set up to separate Michigan fruits and vegetables from others, nor does it tolerate much diversity: odd sizes of apples and cucumbers from smaller farms, or tender, fresh-picked tomatoes, do not fit into this system.
Entrepreneurs are beginning to respond to demand from larger scale buyers for the great variety of foods from a range of food producers that established wholesale channels do not handle.
Entrepreneurs are building new options for more farmers to move their products to more buyers. Governments, communities, and consumers are also working with these entrepreneurs to develop stronger market channels for food produced close to home. These public sector partners are motivated by local food’s potential to improve public health, build regional food security, and generate new jobs and business investment.
The challenge now is to spread the word and empower farmers, processors, and distributors to find each other in this emerging market and to find ways to deliver what the market wants.
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