Michigan is fortunate to have the resources to grow an abundance of healthy foods. Yet, residents of the state, particularly in urban areas, do not always have access to that bounty. In its latest effort to make healthy food more accessible, the Michigan Good Food Fund recently awarded $10,000 to each of ten conscientious food enterprises throughout the state.

These Catalytic Investment Awards are designed to help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level, including preparing for financing. The recipients are: Baobab FareFresh Corner CaféGuerrilla Food, and Sweet Potato Delights in Detroit; MaMang in Flint; Mighty Fine Poultry Processing, LLC in Ann Arbor; The COGIC Community Center Forward Center for Healing and Cultural Advancement in Battle Creek; The Mason Jar Café in Benton Harbor; Malamiah Juice Bar in Grand Rapids; and The Redheads in Traverse City.

“These ten awards are supporting businesses that are increasing healthy food access and sparking job creation across the state, from farm to fork,” said Mary Donnell, Program Manager of the Michigan Good Food Fund. “In addition, they are supporting female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color, a core part of our mission.”

The Michigan Good Food Fund is a $30 million loan fund that launched in 2015 to provide financing and business assistance to good food enterprises that benefit under-served communities across Michigan. It came to fruition through a coalition of food sector, nonprofit, higher education, government, and philanthropic partners with Capital Impact Partners, Fair Food Network, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation at the core.

Since its inception, the fund has invested more than $11 million in 28 food businesses across the state, supporting or creating more than 420 jobs, and enhancing food-based entities that help drive the fund’s primary goals:

  • Healthy food access: Increase access to healthy food as a means to improve the health of all Michigan residents.
  • Economic Development: Drive economic development and job creation to grow Michigan’s economy.
  • Racial & Social Equity: Ensure equitable access to food, jobs, ownership, and flexible investment capital.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Encourage sustainable environmental practices.
  • Local Sourcing: Increase the sourcing and supply of locally grown and regionally produced foods.

Michigan businesses that grow, process, distribute, and/or sell healthy food that reaches low-income and under-served areas, might be eligible for financial support and resource assistance. Qualifications and additional details may be found at migoodfoodfund.org/eligibility

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.