BARAGA, Mich. (WLUC) - The first Western U.P. Food Summit since 2016 was held earlier Wednesday at Ojibwa Casino in Baraga.
"Food affects us all, we all eat every day,” said U.P Food Exchange Local Food Project Manager, Alex Palzewicz.
This is why organizers say conferences like Wednesday’s Western U.P. Food Summit are necessary.
"We here in the U.P. of all places are going to be more unique than other places because we're rural, but we also have small city centers, so how do we work around that? ...How do we get food to rural people? How do we get the food that is being grown in rural areas to the city's centers?” asked Palzewicz.
Since this is the first of three regional summits to be held across the Upper Peninsula, organizers understand these questions may not fully be answered by the end of Wednesday.
But they're hoping this space will start the discussion process by giving people an opportunity to share their ideas.
"There's such a long history of food in this Great Lakes region,” said Western U.P. Food Summit Presentation Leader, Angie Carter. “We are so lucky to be here because we can grow so much food, and so I am leading a session today for people to share best practices and to learn from one another.”
"We'll be educating both policy makers, as well as those in education about local food, so that we can grow a system outside of what we usually have going on,” explained Palzewicz.
This way our local food system's growth will continue not only for the present, but also in the future.
"Local food is growing. There's more interest in it from buyers. There's more farmers wanting to grow, but unless we make these connections we can't set up our own system," said Palzewicz.
By the end of Wednesday's workshop, organizers hope people will use this information to continue the conversation beyond this space.