Members of the first class of Michigan GROWN Michigan GREAT Ambassadors will engage with consumers on issues involving agriculture at farm markets such as this one at Detroit’s Eastern Market, the largest historic public market district in the United States. Photo, Michigan Farm News
The Michigan Ag Council has announced the first class of Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassadors, a new training program that will help develop young advocates for the agriculture industry in Michigan.
The 12 ambassadors will serve as public faces for the Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT campaign, engaging with consumers on important issues in agriculture and gaining knowledge and insight into Michigan’s diverse farming sector.
“The Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassador program provides these young people with the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones to promote agriculture,” said Noelle Nachreiner, executive director of the Michigan Ag Council. “They will be challenged by tough questions regarding where food comes from and will have the tools to confidently dispel myths and find common values with those consumers whom they engage.”
The 2020 Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassadors were selected using a competitive application and interview process. The ambassadors are all Michigan-based college students or recent graduates, representing five universities throughout the state, who come from a diverse background in agriculture. The ambassadors are:
• Hailey Andres, New Lothrop
• Madelyn Cary, Elwell
• Michael Ceja, Alma
• Emma Grant, Suttons Bay
• Haili Gusa, Ubly
• Lauren Heberling, Carsonville
• Jacob Hoskins, Howard City
• Erin Keller, White Lake
• Caitlin Luck, Sand Creek
• Grace Platte, Portland
• Markeisha Welsey, Oak Park
• Ben Zaleski, Port Austin
The ambassadors will undergo a virtual training program through the first half of the summer and will spend the remainder of the year promoting the Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT campaign at farmers markets and other events throughout the state, as well as promote the program through social media and in blogs and articles.
Ambassador Hailey Andres is a recent graphic design and marketing graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint. No stranger to Michigan agriculture, Andres is a former Michigan FFA State Officer, Shiawassee County Farm Bureau Young Farmer member, and a current graphic design intern at GreenStone Farm Credit Services.
“As a self-titled ‘agvocate,’ I’m looking forward to having an additional opportunity to share the story of Michigan agriculture with members of my community and communities around the state,” Andres said. “Agriculture and food are always points of discussion, and I look forward to engaging in meaningful conversations with a wide array of individuals around Michigan.”
The Michigan Ag Council is an organization of commodity groups and agribusinesses working together to raise awareness of food and agriculture today. The primary goal of the Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT campaign, launched in 2016, is to build awareness for the more 300 commodities grown in Michigan and to encourage consumer to purchase local foods and products. To learn more about the Ag Council, visit michigangrown.org.