The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Thursday awarded Value Added and Regional Food System grants to nine Michigan producers, processors, and community development organizations. The grants are designed to help retain, expand, attract, or develop agricultural processing in Michigan through targeted investments in technology and equipment, feasibility studies, healthy food access, regional food systems, and urban agriculture.
“When you look at these projects individually, the grants will help one operation with new equipment, expand processing capacity for others, and bring nutritious products to a local food desert,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Collectively over time, however, these grant projects strengthen our state’s food supply chain. Making targeted investments in businesses and community organizations ultimately helps diversify, expand, and improve Michigan’s entire food and agriculture industry.”
MDARD received 75 proposals with requests totaling nearly $7.5 million. Of those, MDARD awarded $830,000 for the following nine projects, leveraging nearly one-to-one in matching funds:
- Bon Bon Bon – Hamtramck – $125,000. Equipment improvements to shell molding system for gourmet dessert manufacturer.
- Bridgeport Development – Jackson – $48,000. Equipment purchases for new Peach Market grocery store in local food desert.
- Caledonia Packing – Caledonia – $68,000. Increase livestock processing by expanding wastewater capacity.
- Coveyou Farms – Petoskey – $125,000. Infrastructure expansion for increased local food access with on-farm regional food aggregation and sales.
- Eataliana Homemade Pasta – Shelby Township – $113,500. Implement gluten-free pasta products line using bean-based flour milled in Michigan.
- Oceana Foods – Shelby – $109,000. Procure a new bagging system for dried cherries and other dried fruit.
- South Lansing Community Development Association – Lansing – $43,000. Garden expansion and season extension to increase access to healthy food among low-income populations.
- Tri-City Cheese & Meats – Kawkawlin – $99,500. Expansion of USDA federal meat processing facility.
- West Thomas Partners (Gluten Free Bar) – Grand Rapids – $99,000. Installation of a high-speed oatmeal production line, the first of its kind in the U.S.
MDARD promotes and manages several competitive grant programs through the Agriculture Development Division. More about these programs can be found at www.michigan.gov/mdardgrants.