By: Governer Jennifer
Publication: Michigan Office of the Governor
September 11, 2007
Autumn is just around the corner, and Michigan has once again been blessed with an amazing cornucopia of agricultural products * from fresh fruits, vegetables, and apple cider to beautiful mums, cut flowers, and nursery stock. In celebration of our state’s bounty, I have declared September 9-15, 2007, as “Select Michigan Week.” And in conjunction with “Select Michigan Week,” we are also celebrating Michigan’s 3rd annual “Buy Fresh, Buy Local * Select Michigan Day” and the kick-off of the 17th annual “Michigan Harvest Gathering * State Employees’ Campaign,” an annual food and fund drive that state employees have so generously supported over the years.
In honor of these special events, you are invited to the Select Michigan Day Farmers’ Market on the east lawn of the State Capitol, Thursday, September 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., rain or shine; and the kick-off press conference for the 2007 Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign at 10:00 a.m. at the State Capitol.
Last year’s market was a huge success, and this year’s market is anticipated to be even bigger and better with more local farmers from across Michigan offering for sale their locally-grown and produced products. You can select fresh seasonal produce, eggs, honey, grains, beans, jams, jellies, flowers and perennials, baked goods, Lake Superior whitefish, wool and fiber products, and much, much more * all grown and produced in Michigan.
The market coincides with Michigan’s 3rd annual Buy Fresh, Buy Local * Select Michigan Day, designated by the Michigan Legislature to raise awareness about local food and Michigan’s second largest industry * agriculture * which contributes $60.1 billion to our state’s economy annually and employs more than one million Michigan residents.
Food and funds collected through the Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign will benefit the Food Bank Council of Michigan’s member food banks and more than 2,500 community agencies throughout the state. All food donations go directly to local food banks, and all donated funds are directly used to purchase food items and pay for their transport. It is anticipated that more than one million Michigan residents will need the services offered by a local food bank this year.
Boxes for collecting non-perishable food items and pledge cards for tax-deductible monetary donations will be available within each state department. Agency representatives also have planned a number of fun activities to help increase donations. We hope to surpass last year’s generous state employee donations of 61,800 pounds of food and $26,400. The 2007 Michigan Harvest Gathering * State Employees’ Campaign ends on September 27.
The face of hunger in Michigan knows no ethnic or color or age distinction. It includes working families who have to choose between paying rent, seeking medical attention, heating their homes, or buying food for the table, and seniors who are choosing between buying prescription medication or food. These individuals and families, including growing children who are lacking adequate nutrition, are facing overwhelming challenges while struggling to make ends meet.
Please consider participating in food and fundraising activities in your department and supporting this cause to eliminate hunger in our state. In addition to purchasing Michigan foods for ourselves and our families, we can “Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Give Local” by contributing Michigan foods to local food banks. In doing so, we help our neighbors in need and provide access to fresh, local, healthy food to Michigan residents. The Food Bank Council of Michigan will be on-site at the Select Michigan Day Farmers’ Market, and I encourage you to make a purchase at the market and donate it directly to the food bank.
If you have questions about the Select Michigan Day Farmers’ Market, please contact Jeanne Lipe, Michigan Department of Agriculture, at 517-373-9790. And for more information about the Michigan Harvest Gathering, contact your department coordinator or Sherri Fedewa, Michigan Harvest Gathering * State Employees’ Campaign Coordinator, at 517-335-0880.
Thank you again for your tremendous support of the Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign and for selecting Michigan. With your continued participation and support, we will be able to one day say that we eliminated hunger in our state. Because it is together that we can make a difference.
Jennifer M. Granholm