Expanding “Farm to Table” Concept with Support of West Michigan Farmers and Food Processors and Unique Public-Private Collaborative Partnership

MUSKEGON, Mich., April 19, 2018 – A unique West Michigan-based initiative designed to significantly grow area food processing opportunities has “gone public” with today’s launch of its website: http://westmifoodprocessinginitiative.com/

“We are excited to officially launch our website today, inviting everyone to learn about this initiative and its remarkable potential to benefit West Michigan,” said Marty Gerencer, co-director of the West Michigan Shoreline Food Processing Initiative. “While we are going public today, significant work has already taken place to make this initiative a reality.”

To-date, this initiative has accomplished the following:

  • Conducted economic impact studies that conclude that accelerating food gathering and processing in West Michigan will have a significant, positive impact on agriculture and area communities;
  • Reviewed best-practices for other areas, including a fact-finding visit to the Fingers Lake region of New York State. This research confirms that an advanced food program processing enhances employment, tax benefits and development;
  • Secured initiative “seed fund” grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to help develop the initiative’s vision and program scope;
  • Development of an education curriculum in collaboration with Michigan State University and Learn Academy Community College to work with existing and potentially new food processing companies;
  • Identification of potential food processing manufacturing locations
  • Ongoing research and potential development of a food processing incubation and pilot manufacturing center.

The West Michigan Shoreline Food Processing Initiative includes support from Muskegon County; the City of Muskegon; Muskegon Community College; Consumers Energy; Community Foundation for Muskegon County;  Michigan State University; Supply Chain Solutions and Eco Ships; and other local agricultural, economic and community development organizations.

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Media Contacts: WMSFPI Pillar Manager-Implementation Process and Communications, Dennis Marvin: (517) 740-0209 or dcmarvin@aol.com