Good food is the focus of a new council in Eaton County
The Eaton Good Food Council has formed to work on food related opportunities and challenges in Eaton County.
The Eaton Good Food Council, a new county-wide group in Eaton County, Mich., was publicly unveiled at the recent mid-Michigan program for greater sustainability event in Charlotte, Mich. This group has formed with the goal of making good food a priority in Eaton County.
“For our group, good food means green, healthy, fair and affordable,” said Michigan State University Extension Educator Becky Henne, one of the leaders of the group. “There is great opportunity for better nutrition for kids, better overall health, better connections between rural and urban and economic development, just to name a few” says Henne. “That is why we initially came together.”
The Eaton Good Food is the newest group to affiliate with the Michigan Food Policy Council network. To date, upwards of 40 counties have similar groups that convene around food, food access, food security and food availability. Eaton Good Food, has brought together a large group of people that represent farming, K-12 education, food service programs, food pantries, county government, restaurants, hospitals and farmers markets to name a few. During the initial meeting food access, nutritious school food, chronic disease and local food campaigns were the top priorities of the group.
Roger Harris from Eaton Rapids explained that his goal for participating with Eaton Good Food was to make sure his grandchildren and their generation has access to good food and to have good health as they grow up.
Denise Parisian, the market manager of the Dimondale Farmers Market, expressed her priority as one to have local farmers markets flourish to support local growers and consequently strengthen the Michigan economy.
“One in 10 people in Michigan struggle to get enough food to eat,” said Kathe Smith of the Greater Lansing Food Bank, “Eaton County is no exception.” Food access is a priority.
Shelli Smith from the Barry Eaton Health Department (BEHD) and Jane Whitacre, director of the Michigan Food Policy Council (MFPC) and Eaton County resident have been working with Henne for the past eight months to put Eaton Good Food into motion. The Michigan Good Food Charter has been a foundational road map for this group.
“Along with manufacturing, Eaton County food and agriculture is a critically important economic asset and we need to take advantage of the potential like so many other counties have,” states Whitacre when asked why she is willing to devote her time and effort to the initiative.