Supporting Food and Farm Entrepreneurs in Michigan

Michigan Good Food Fund’s work is guided by the shared vision of our Stakeholder Board—a diverse collective of people with deep roots in Michigan and a range of food industry careers. Some of them have received loans from the lending network in the past. 

When Michigan Good Food Fund began in 2015, the lending network focused primarily on entrepreneurs providing healthy food to underserved communities. As we worked together with our partners toward a more resilient, inclusive food industry, we evolved our definition of “good food” beyond food that meets certain nutritional criteria. Our collaborative efforts aim to ensure that our future investments reflect the priorities of the people and communities most affected by wealth inequities.

Today, we define “good food” as food that serves communities and strengthens the economy. We are focused on supporting food and farm entrepreneurs who represent communities that have been marginalized due to race, ethnicity, and/or gender. Our goal is to help them prepare for and secure investment that will help their businesses grow and thrive.

As administrative managers of Michigan Good Food Fund, we worked alongside our newly convened 21-member stakeholder board to define the strategic vision of the lending network. With their partnership, the collaborative supported 17 businesses with flexible financing in 2022, including a wide range of loans and other financial products that can be used for equipment, inventory, property improvements, and more. The collaborative also provided 72 businesses with tailored business assistance or one-on-one consulting to offer guidance on everything from filing taxes to marketing to opening up new sales channels. We also hosted periodic workshops tailored to entrepreneurs in specific locations or food business sectors. 

“We know that food and farm entrepreneurs are an essential part of vibrant communities and that investing in small businesses improves people’s access to culturally relevant food, creates jobs, and strengthens local economies,” said Aaron Jackson, Director of Michigan Good Food Fund at Fair Food Network. 

Over half of the businesses that received support from MGFF in 2022 are located in a low-income/low-access community (51%), and most are located in an economically distressed area (74%). In a survey of businesses supported by the Michigan Good Food Fund, 72% of respondents expected to hire additional employees in 2023. In addition, 71% of respondents said they were able to develop or refine their business model or plan as a result of our support, and 41% were able to bring a product or service to market for the first time. 

Together with our partners, we’re building equity by improving access to resources that should be equally available to everyone; our specific focus on marginalized community members helps to level the playing field to realize the inclusive economy envisioned by Fair Food Network, its partners, and the communities where we work.

Learn more about Michigan Good Food Fund and its Stakeholder Board



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Want more good food stories?

Explore our impact report to see the positive change nutritious food and the people who make it can have on our communities.