Task Forces


Read the literature. Pick a task force team. Contact the leader!


Task Force Leader, Local Food Sales: TRICIA PHELPS, Operations Director, Taste the Local Difference®, tricia@localdifference.org

This team is working on direct and indirect sales by farmers. Tricia sees moving more farmers to indirect sales as the way to build local agriculture and is also interested in identifying untapped consumer bases. For her 2016-17 project, she is leaning toward a northwest Michigan ag census…because the USDA ag census just doesn’t measure what we need to know in our region. Tricia is looking for an economist-type to add to her team in order to make sure the local ag census measures are valid, etc. In particular, she wants to learn more about whether local food sales are providing a living wage or having other impacts on farmers.


Task Force Leader, Farm to Institution: KELLY LIVELY, Institutional Partnership Development and Food Policy, Cherry Capital Foods, kelly@cherrycapitalfoods.com

At the February 2016 summit, this team identified the following SMART goals:

Healthcare/Hospitals, More Engagement; Talk to a McLaren rep or several about buying/using local food; 3 representatives/3 meetings; by next Feb (2017)

At least one hospital in the region: Munson Healthcare;  Local food gets on trays/cafeteria menu; 3 food items are regular orders; by Sept 2016

Fair Share/worksite CSA; Find 1 group small employers; Find 1 large employer to launch/offer a CSA (possibly Munson or downtown TC/Chamber); by Feb 2017



Task Force Leader, Agri-Business Generation: BILL PALADINO, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance

This team focuses on building local production and processing capacity–both new and existing.


Task Force Leader, Food Access: MEGHAN MCDERMOTT, Food and Farming Program Director, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, meghan@groundworkcenter.org

This team will be doing several “healthful food for all” projects in 2016-17 and applying for mini-grant funds–probably for four or five projects. Members of the groups include a food pantry, a farmers market, Food Rescue, Healthy Harvest (gleaning), Grow Benzie, and more.

Task Force Leader, Farmland Resources: BRIAN BOURDAGES: bogtec@gmail.com

Members of this team include representatives from land conservancies, a lawyer, a financial institution, and an ag educator. Brian is leaning toward setting up a Farmlink-type program to identify resources needed for new and existing farmers and what’s happening with farmland. He also wants to support rigorous succession planning workshops–such as the 2-day workshop at the MSU horticulture station.