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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Gary McDowell Visits KI Sawyer Hangar Expansion and Wastewater Treatment Projects, Peace Pie Company, Lakeshore Depot, Superior Culture, and Northern Michigan University’s Self-Contained Sustainability Growing Center in Marquette

Marquette, MI – Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell visited the KI Sawyer Hangar Expansion and Wastewater Treatment Projects, Peace Pie CompanyLakeshore DepotSuperior Culture, and Northern Michigan University Self Contained Sustainability Growing Center. Director McDowell continues to travel across the state meeting with food and agricultural businesses as they work to advance during Michigan’s economic recovery.  

"The Upper Peninsula is not only my home, but is also home to many diverse agricultural opportunities," said McDowell. "Governor Whitmer created the newly created Office of Rural Development to recognize what our rural communities, like Marquette, bring to Michigan's economy. I believe in Michigan, especially the full potential of our rural areas, our food and agriculture businesses and in the Upper Peninsula."

Director McDowell started his Marquette tour stops by visiting the KI Sawyer Hangar Expansion and Wastewater Treatment Projects. MDARD has provided grants allowing Marquette County to support a hangar expansion at Sawyer Airport. 

This new development provides a larger building footprint and site elevations outside the hangars. These changes were necessary due to Envoy’s gradual transition from 50 and 66 aircraft to the next generation ERJ 175 regional jet aircraft fleet.

The improvements included the installation of three influent pumps sized to efficiently accommodate the current range of flows typically experienced at the facility. The high efficiency replacement pumps will be equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs) and paced by influent wastewater flows to further realize energy efficiencies. In-rush current would be reduced through utilizing a smaller horsepower pump motor and through implementing VFDs.

Peace Pie Company was started in 2015 by Lorri Smith out of a love for baking and a need for change. This passion has snowballed into a world of opportunities for Lorri and her staff. Starting as a small business selling pies at the local farmers market, she has grown Peace Pie to be one of the most sought-after desserts in Marquette and the secret of her pies is being discovered by more people every day. Peace Pie has always led with the commitment of supporting local farms and businesses whenever possible.

Lakeshore Depot seeks to provide an efficient outlet for customers to purchase local foods. Somewhat of a hybrid between a grocery store and farmer's market, The Depot offers a diverse variety of food and agricultural products from many local producers, processors, and farmers. Lakeshore Depot's goal is to provide a convenient and affordable outlet for those farmers and other local food producers to distribute their products to our community. All the products at Lakeshore Depot are sourced locally whenever possible and from Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Midwest region to supplement local offerings. The Depot hopes to catalyze an expansion of our local food system and encourage more farms and food processing businesses in the area.

Superior Culture produces locally sourced, seasonally rotating, organic beverages, including kombucha, mead, cider, beer, seltzer, and other alcoholic & non-alcoholic options at the Lakeshore Depot location. They currently wholesale non-alcoholic kombucha to over 30 UP retailers, sell at farmers markets and events, and operate a taproom on Third Street in downtown Marquette. They have strong ties to many farmers and producers in the UP and strive to use only local products when available.

The collaboration between Lakeshore Depot and Superior Culture has helped redirect a large portion of cosmetically damaged Michigan produce into value added products, and reduced food waste from The Depot and its vendors.

Northern Michigan University (NMU) is leading the way when it comes to state-of-the-art technology in terms of indoor growing. The university is home to a self-contained shipping container/growing center which was purchased by NMU through a $100,000 grant from MDARD to purchase a Freight Farms Greenery container, a self-contained shipping growing center. 

The container has vertical grow channels and a large capacity for growing. The container also has its own seeding station area, so students can complete all aspects of the growing cycle. The new Indoor Agriculture Club at NMU is responsible for growing food in the container year-round. That food will be provided to NMU’s hospitality management program and Dining Services so students can eat fresh-grown produce.

MDARD Director Visits Food and Agriculture Businesses in Marquette

MDARD Director Visits Food and Agriculture Businesses in Marquette

MDARD Director Visits Food and Agriculture Businesses in Marquette