The U.P. Food Exchange's Monthly Newsletter - 
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Taste the Local Difference extends registration period

Attention Farmers and Local Food Vendors:
Taste the Local Difference, the Traverse City based food marketing group that UPFE has worked with to release the annual Farm and Food Directory, has extended its registration period for farms and businesses until the end of February.  

TLD covers the whole state of Michigan and provides free listings in their print and online directories.  Please consider having your farm, market, or retail business listed with TLD.  The basic listing is free of charge and there is a shared benefit to all through increasing the visibility of UP agriculture.  There are also paid options for enhanced farm/business listings, advertisements, and marketing resources.  Learn more here at their website.

Meat Processing Feasibility Study - 
Report available and Webinar scheduled

A group of stakeholders applied for and received a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Strategic Growth Initiative grant in the fall of 2015 to be able to conduct a feasibility study to determine if more processing is needed and what type of facility might be feasible. The study, completed in December 2016, was conducted by Karen Karp & Partners and the executive summary and full report are now available on the UPFE website under resources.

There will be a webinar that will present the research conducted as well as the proposed recommendations and associated strategies on February 22, 2017 at 7 pm.  

Visit this page for more information on the webinar.

Kitz's Koop, Rainbow Packing among MDARD Grant Recipients

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams announced nine projects awarded funds under the competitive Value Added and Regional Food System Grant Program.  Among the awardees were two UP food businesses, Kitz's Koop of Sault Ste. Marie and Rainbow Packing Inc. of Escanaba.  

Kitz's was awarded $19,400 to expand production. “Kitz’s Koop Family Egg Farm supplies farm fresh eggs to the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The value-added grant is going to allow us to expand operations and provide a safe, wholesome, healthy product to a broader network of consumers," said Ryan Kitzmiller, the owner.

Rainbow Packing was awarded $100,000 to expand their meat processing facility. “An expanded facility and the additional equipment will allow us to serve more farmers in the region, as well as the space needed to expand into other marketing channels," said Sue Sicotte, Rainbow Packing Owner.  Find the full MDARD press release here.

MAEAP Job Position Announcement

The Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District is hiring a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Technician.  The technician is responsible for delivering on-farm technical assistance in all of Chippewa, Luce, and Mackinac Counties in Michigan. This includes conducting farm-specific risk assessments; coordinating local, state, and federal agency resources to help farmers reduce environmental risks; and assisting farmers in making progress toward MAEAP verification. The MAEAP Technician is also responsible for collaborating with District staff to promote MAEAP and educate diverse audiences on the importance of environmental quality.

The position is currently vacant and applications will be accepted until March 10th, 2017 at 4:30 PM EST.

To apply please send cover letter, resume, and a list of (3) professional references to with subject: "MAEAP Technician Position" or mail to: CLMCD c/o Mike McCarthy, 2847 Ashmun Street Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783.

A full position description can be found here.

Upcoming Events

Food Safety Training Event

April 6, 2017 - Marquette Township Hall, Marquette MI

The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule requirement that requires, ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’

The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. After attending the entire course, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies they have completed the training course.

The MI GroupGAP Network is an ongoing statewide GAP certification program developed for small and mid-size farms.  Find out more information at the Grower Training on April 6th, or by emailing Phil Britton.  Deadline to indicate your desire to participate will be mid-April.  More information on this event is available here.

U.P. Ag for Tomorrow Conference

March 7, 2017 - Bay De Noc Community College - Escanaba, MI

Do you farm for profit? Do you want the latest crop, livestock and farm management information for the U.P.? If so, the Michigan State University Extension’s Agriculture for Tomorrow Conference is something you won’t want to miss. Get the latest information and ideas from Upper Peninsula farmers, Michigan State University Extension and industry experts.

There will be 12 different classes offered. Registration is $35. Sign up before February 24th, only $25.  Lunch and materials are included in fee.

Learn more about this annual conference and register here on the MSUE website.


MI Farmers Market Conference

March 7 & 8 - MSU Campus - East Lansing, MI

The two-day conference features three tracks and a total of 15 educational sessions led by experts in farmers market management and agriculture:

  • Beginning Market Managers
  • Advanced Market Managers
  • Farmers and Vendors

Each track builds on the information that attendees found helpful at the prior year’s conference while providing up-to-date information on timely topics related to farmers market management and/or marketing. See the Conference Agenda with sessions, descriptions and speakers. Registration is open now until February 27th, 2017.  Visit the MIFMA website for more information. 

Eastern Food Hub Upcoming Meetings

Contact Michelle Walk at or Heather Hemming at for more information.

Central Food Hub Upcoming Meetings

UPFE Policy Committee Meeting

First Tuesday of every month

Tuesday, March 7th at 9 am at the Marquette Food Co-op
Contact Sarah Monte at or (906) 225-0671 x 723 for more information

CUP Farm to School Committee Meeting

Contact Sarah Monte for more information at or (906) 225-0671 x 723

Western Food Hub Upcoming Meetings

WUP Food Hub Steering Committee

Meetings are held at the Hancock Health Department, 540 Depot Street, behind McGanns Hardware.  Contact Ray Sharp at (906) 482-7382 x 163 for more information.

More to read. . .

Check out UPREC's monthly newsletter here

Check out MFC's newsletter here

Check out UPFE's website here

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