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MDARD grants aim to expand Michigan's capacity for fresh produce, meats, baked goods, more

For immediate release: June 30, 2021
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

LANSING, MI - The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development today awarded Value Added and Regional Food System grants to 18 Michigan producers, processors, and community development organizations. The grants are designed to help retain, expand, attract, or develop agricultural processing in Michigan through targeted investments in technology and equipment, feasibility studies, healthy food access, regional food systems, and urban agriculture.

"The demand for Michigan's food and agriculture products has never been higher, whether it's globally, nationally, or locally," said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. "And like any other business or industry, being able to meet an increasing demand in a timely way without compromising quality is critical to long-term success. These grants will help businesses and organizations across Michigan improve and expand operations, as well as help build a successful future for them and the communities they serve."

MDARD received 118 eligible proposals with requests totaling nearly $9.1 million. Of those, MDARD awarded $1.3 million for the following 18 projects, leveraging nearly $4.8 million in matching funds:  

  • Aid in Milan Inc. - Milan - $23,000. Expand the food pantry for direct food assistance.
  • Amplify GR - Grand Rapids - $100,000. Expand the Boston Square Incubator kitchen and food hub.
  • Byron Center Meats - Byron Center - $100,000. Expand a meat packaging line to increase capacity for livestock producers. 
  • Communities First Inc. - Flint - $100,000. Expand the Community Enrichment Center's kitchen incubator in the food desert, improving entrepreneurial food processing in North Flint.
  • Cook Family Processing - Gaylord - $100,000. Expand livestock processing facility, increasing overall capacity in Northern Michigan.
  • DeGreif's Processing - Sault Ste. Marie - $95,765. Expand livestock processing for the Eastern Upper Peninsula.
  • Graceland Fruit Inc. - Frankfort - $100,000. Expand a product line for Michigan grown Montmorency cherries.
  • J&A Sunrise Farms LCC - Bailey - $8,660. Expand the cold storage and establish a farm market store.
  • Michigan Blueberry Growers Association - Grand Junction - $100,000. Expand value added opportunities for Michigan blueberry producers with a new heat-sealed packaging process.
  • Michigan State University Extension - East Lansing - $52,600. Purchase bottling and canning equipment for new product development and production with entrepreneurs.
  • Misty Lane Farm LLC - Stockbridge - $10,000. Expand on-farm cold storage and renovations for the farm store and food hub.
  • Mount Pleasant Food Co-op - Mount Pleasant - $100,000. Relocation and expansion of the GreenTree Cooperative Grocery.
  • Peace Tree Parks - Detroit - $98,000. Establish the E. Vernor produce distribution center for fresh organic produce and hot food.
  • Riley Orchards Receiving and Storage LLC - Mears - $100,000. New receiving, processing, and storage facility for asparagus, cherries, and apples.
  • SEEDS - Traverse City - $18,100. Building capacity for expansion of the SEEDS' farm and value-added processing at the Historic Barns Park.
  • Tomato Bliss LLC - Galien - $98,100. Increase and expand processing line for heirloom tomatoes grown by independent Michigan farmers.
  • Trenary Toast Bakery Inc. - Trenary - $45,900. Expand the bakery's oven capacity to increase capacity.
  • Upper Peninsula Masonic Association - Marquette - $49,800. Expand the Masonic Arts, Theatre & Innovation (MÄTI) Company Community Kitchen's equipment and programming for increased value-added food production to local food entrepreneurs.

MDARD promotes and manages several competitive grant programs through the Agriculture Development Division. More about these programs can be found at


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