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More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost | Arts & Culture

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More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost
More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The eat local movement is getting a federal boost.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded Local First a two-year $94,000 grant for Community Supported Agriculture.  Local First is teaming up with West Michigan Growers Group and Michigan State University Extension to provide resources for farmers to grow their CSA programs. With CSAs, community members purchase a share of a local farm, which then divides its harvest among investors.  The CSA form of farming provides stability for farmers and allows investors to enjoy seasonable, locally grown produce. The program provides the health, relational and economic benefits that come with eating local.

 Agriculture is the largest sector of Michigan’s economy. WMGG is a network of more than 50 small farms.  West Michigan is home to more than a dozen CSAs, including farms in Grand Rapids, Walker, Holland, Ada, Belding, Coopersville, Hudsonville and Comstock Park.

“Local farms are the heartbeat of agriculture in West Michigan, and both farmers and consumers will benefit from the increased exposure of CSAs," said Elissa Hillary, executive director of Local First.

Rachelle Bostwick, who oversees Earthkeeper Farm and is the director of WMGG, will be Local First’s new farm coordinator, building relationships among farmers and the community.  Local First will hold a community open house regarding the grant program on March 21.  For additional information, call (616) 808-3788 or email info@localfirst.com.

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