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Growing a thriving local food market

By Sam Henke, Marquette Food Co-op What is at the center of a local food movement?  What motivates people from Detroit to Marquette to make a concerted effort to buy local food?  There is something more than a desire for delicious, fresh food—though that is a major part of it.  Something beyond an understanding of […]

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Breaking soil

Story by Sam Henke, Marquette Food Co-op • Photos courtesy of Bean Pole Farm So do you think the U.P. is a good place to start a farm?” I ask the young and enterprising farmer while she is on a break between her other, non-farming jobs. She hesitates then laughs, “. . .if you’re crazy!” […]

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Farm to Table

By Sam Henke, Marquette Food Co-op Building reliable and sustainable local food systems is an exercise in patience. In a relatively underdeveloped local food system, there is a huge risk inherent in making large investments with the hopes they can bootstrap an entire sector of the economy. There are many active and interested stakeholders who […]

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Farm to Table

By Sam Henke, Marquette Food Co-op One can conceive of a local food movement as being driven by production and demand—but this is only half the story. If you were creating a photo slideshow of a food system, you would likely include some images that focus on these two aspects of the food system: a […]

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Natures pollinators

— Sam Henke Marquette Food Co-op One way to understand the underlying nature of an agricultural system is as an ecosystem, an interconnected and interdependent web that is determined by a wide host of human-based, physical and biological factors. Using an ecological lens to assess our local food system is another way to hone in […]

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How to eat local all winter long

by Sam Henke How can we continue to eat locally during our long, cold winter here in the U.P.? One way to look for answers is to look to our past, and how Yoopers and other folks of the North Country ate during the winter before there was international air travel, a national highway system and […]

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The tomato that took the place of a mountain

by Sam Henke When the clouds cleared, looking out past the foothills and across the city I could see a black crag of rock protruding from the shaggy green neck of Imbabura, the cinder cone of the giant hibernating volcano. Mount Imbabura, which dominates the surrounding Ecuadorian province of the same name, rises starkly, over […]

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Food access critical part of a local food system

by Sam Henke Where does a food system start?  It’s true that a plant’s roots are nourished by the soil it is grown in, but doesn’t the condition of the soil start with the land’s history?  If a farm is sited on an historic farm that’s been maintained, much of the work of the farmer […]

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Wasting away

by Sam Henke Eating is the central activity of any food system, but we may be overlooking the impact of what we don’t eat.  It seems hard to believe, but according to recent studies and articles from many major news sources, nearly half of the food grown in the United States is thrown away. By measuring the food […]

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Dinner, meet dirt

by Sam Henke Enjoying that creamed spinach? Thank a worm (and thank a farmer, too). As interest in local food grows, plenty of folks are learning to put together the interconnected parts of the economic, ecological, agricultural and personal networks that make up a food system. So much of what makes local food worth supporting has […]

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Growing U.P. local

by Sam Henke, Farming above the 45th parallel has never been for the faint of heart nor the thin of skin. The growing season is short, the late frosts unforgiving and the sun has a habit of all but disappearing behind a brow of clouds for days at a time. Historically, eking out a subsistence with […]

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