West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is launching a new Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, a committee-based effort focused on promoting sustainable practices as defined by the triple-bottom line to West Michigan organizations that purchase, produce or process food.
Initial efforts will be focused on procurement, on-campus gardening/agriculture, and employee health/wellness, in collaboration with the efforts of MSU Extension’s Community Food Systems program, Fulton Street Farmers Market, Downtown Market Kitchen Incubator and other community partners. In the near future these efforts will expand to the promotion of water and energy efficiency in food processing and preparation, and other emerging opportunities as determined by WMSBF stakeholders, such as education on the new LEED pilot credit for on-site food production.
A new standing committee of the board of directors was chartered to support this initiative at the December board meeting. Co-chairing the committee are board member Theresa Hogerheide, a local green building consultant and sustainable food systems expert, and Garrett Ziegler, Community Food Systems Extension Educator for MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute. Those interested in becoming a member of this committee may contact Daniel Schoonmaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Integrate a key emerging sustainability interest into forum activities and programming, providing new resources and opportunities for education and collaboration.
- Create new partnerships with like-minded organizations for mutual benefit and increased member value.
- Support community efforts focused on improving the sustainability of food systems and leveraging sustainable food systems for economic growth.
- Increase participation within market segments historically underrepresented within the forum, including commercial bakeries, food processing, large distributors, large retailers, brewers, and their vendors, all of which might find value from the forum’s beyond compliance approach and focus on energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, and pollution prevention.