February 22, 2022

New Stakeholder Board

Michigan Good Food Fund New Stakeholder Board Brings Community-First Approach to Statewide Food Financing Initiative…



Michigan Good Food Fund New Stakeholder Board Brings
Community-First Approach to Statewide Food Financing Initiative

February 22, 2022
– Michigan Good Food Fund announced today its new Stakeholder Board, which brings together entrepreneurs, capital and technical assistance providers, food system practitioners, and community partners from across the state. The Stakeholder Board members will work together to set the vision for this statewide food financing initiative, channel community input, refocus its priorities, and keep the work accountable to those it seeks to benefit.

“[Michigan Good Food Fund] has given great support, strengthening the good food infrastructure in Michigan,” says Tony Vu, Stakeholder Board chair and restaurateur, including founder of Flint’s MaMang and Traverse City’s The Good Bowl. “The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in places like Flint and across Michigan. Looking ahead, I hope we can continue to bridge the gaps mom-and-pop businesses face to create a healthy and equitable circular economy.”

Michigan Good Food Fund launched in 2015 as a statewide loan fund giving good food entrepreneurs financing and business assistance to increase access to healthy food and spark economic opportunity in their communities. According to its five-year evaluation report, its partners have since invested $17 million in loans and grants to 300 Michigan-based food businesses–which in turn have created or retained 1,100 jobs. As it looked towards its next chapter, initiative partners recognized the need to build upon the success of its first five years, but also pivot to meet current critical needs facing local businesses.

To anchor this next chapter in community voice and priorities, Fair Food Network, the initiative’s current administrator, convened an independent Steering Committee in 2021. The Steering Committee nominated candidates for a new Stakeholder Board with the goal of bringing together knowledgeable, representative, and authentic voices from across Michigan’s food system. The role of the new Stakeholder Board is to co-create Michigan Good Food Fund’s vision of success, set investment policies and priorities, inform strategies, and maintain accountability of the initiative’s partners as an active feedback loop. The Stakeholder Board will also help connect initiative partners to community and entrepreneurial networks across the state, ensuring investments respond to community-identified needs.

Now assembled, the Stakeholder Board has refocused this initiative to address two of the most pressing challenges of our time – growing inequality and climate change – through food. It aims to maximize its efforts to support mission-led good food businesses with a focus on owner-operators who are women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern and North African, and Multi-Racial.

The Michigan Good Food Fund is a diverse collaborative of partners who have come together to promote sustained and integrated investing, meaning entrepreneurs can receive multiple rounds of coordinated technical and financial assistance from the fund to support their continued growth. New and expanded offerings will be available this year for food businesses.

“Good food businesses are the backbone of our communities,” said Kate Krauss, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer at Fair Food Network, the administrator of the Michigan Good Food Fund. “With the priorities set by this community-first Stakeholder Board, the Michigan Good Food Fund can support local businesses to bring about more equitable access to food, jobs, ownership, capital, and ultimately a healthier, more resilient and just future.”

Stakeholder Board members are:

  • April Anderson, Good Cakes and Bakes
  • Terri Barker, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)
  • Brittany Bradd, Greydale Farms
  • Carolyn Cassin, Michigan Women Forward and General Partner and Co-Founder of The BELLE Michigan Impact Fund
  • Dan Cornelius, Intertribal Ag Council-Great Lakes Region
  • Charles Donaldson, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
  • Juan Escareño, Midwest Independent Retailers Association (MIRA)
  • Kiar Gamsho, Park Street Market
  • Matt Gougeon, Marquette Food Co-op
  • Jerry Ann Hebron, Oakland Avenue Urban Farm
  • Kaja Thornton Hunter, Kaja’s Flavor LLC
  • Ana Jose, Michigan Women Forward
  • Daniel Marbury, Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology
  • Rebecca O’Connell, Lake Trust Credit Union
  • Christine Quane, Eastern Market Corporation
  • Jamie Rahrig, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and Michigan State University Product Center
  • Darel Ross, Start Garden and Forty Acres Soul Kitchen
  • Elissa Sangalli, Northern Initiatives
  • John Schoeniger, Detroit Development Fund
  • Tony Vu, MaMang, The Good Bowl, and Flint Social Club
  • Adrienne Wolff, Buckwheat’s Market Garden
  • Milinda Ysasi, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW)

Stay tuned for more announcements related to Michigan Good Food Fund’s next chapter in 2022. To learn more visit MiGoodFoodFund.org or sign up for emails. You can now find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andi Nank | anank@fairfoodnetwork.org

Hear from our Stakeholder Board
A few of our Stakeholder Board members and fund administrator share their thoughts about Michigan Good Food Fund’s next chapter. 

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