GHAPS recognized for local food purchase efforts

Krystle Wagner • Oct 29, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Grand Haven schools’ effort to purchase food locally has earned the district some statewide recognition.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools was among four Cultivate Michigan awardees recognized for their efforts to purchase local food. The Michigan Good Food Charter goal is to purchase 20 percent state-grown food by 2020, according to a press release.

The Grand Haven district was recognized for purchasing 15 percent of its food locally in 2016.

“GHAPS is part of Cultivate Michigan because they help institutions find, purchase and buy local foods, which in turn helps support local farms and the economy,” said GHAPS Director of Dining Services Robynn Mora.

The district purchased in-season produce, and plans to continue the partnership with Cultivate Michigan with the intention of growing purchases to 20 percent, Mora said.

Other awardees include Sparrow Hospital in Lansing for purchasing 5 percent of local food in 2016, Beaumont Hospital in Troy for 5 percent in 2016 and 2017, and Friendship Centers of Emmett County with three locations (Brutus, Pellston and Petoskey) for 10 percent in 2016 and 2017.

Awardees received framed posters during the Michigan Good Food Summit, and each institution will also receive financial awards to help with equipment and purchasing food locally, according to a press release.

“When we launched Cultivate Michigan in 2014, we knew of many institutions purchasing local foods and expanding those efforts each year. We also knew that getting data on those purchases would require extra energy and attention,” said Colleen Matts, farm-to-institution specialist for the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and coordinator of the Michigan Farm-to-Institution Network, which manages Cultivate Michigan.

Currently, 67 institutions throughout the state are involved with Cultivate Michigan and have reported spending more than $4 million on Michigan-produced or Michigan-grown foods from January 2014 to January 2018. Of the participating institutions, 44 are schools and districts and 13 are hospitals and health care systems. The campaign provides resources and tools to support participants in finding local food and tracking their progress toward the 20 percent goal.

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