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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Gary McDowell Participates in West Michigan Restaurant Inspection; Visits South East Market and Superbloom Farms

HOLLAND, MI – Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell participated in a restaurant tour while learning about the Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s food safety inspection process at Salt & Pepper in Holland, visited South East Market and Superbloom in Grand Rapids. McDowell continues to travel across the state of Michigan to meet with food and agricultural businesses as they advance during Michigan's economic recovery.

"At MDARD, we are proud to uphold our long-standing commitment to food safety and public health across Michigan," said McDowell. "Our hardworking MDARD inspectors and partners at the state’s local public health departments monitor Michigan's food supply at each step in the food chain to ensure the food Michiganders eat remains safe from the farm to your dinner plate."

Food service establishments, including restaurants, cafeterias, delicatessens, mobile units, temporary food service establishments, and special transitory food units, are licensed and inspected by local/county health departments.

“Each day local public departments work to build a sense of community through new business development, educating people on how to keep food safe and more,” said Norm Hess, executive director, Michigan Association of Local Public Health. “By working together with restaurant owners and operators, inspectors provide a peace of mind by making sure Michiganders can eat out with confidence.”

Salt & Pepper opened in 2010 with a simple philosophy dedicated to bringing great food and hospitality to the West Michigan community. Salt & Pepper was created as a place to share their love for fantastic food in a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. Salt & Pepper’s menu takes classic pub favorites and adds exciting twists to those classics. The restaurant aims to offer a variety of exciting options for all restaurant-goers.

Khara Dewit and Alita Kelly founded South East Market in downtown Grand Rapids. Dewit and Kelly work together to put equity and sustainability at the forefront of South East Market’s work and engage the West Michigan community. South East Market celebrates their neighbors and uplifts them by increasing access to healthy food options through dignified means, educational opportunities, and community empowerment.

Superbloom Farms is in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. They currently grow lettuce, herbs, and edible flowers 365 days a year in a hydroponic container farm. Superbloom’s mission is to provide reliable local food systems, create meaningful jobs and engage and educate the communities they serve on healthy eating and alternative farming methods. They believe that every community can benefit from a local food system that produces nutrient-rich greens for its people.

Throughout 2022, Director McDowell is meeting with Michigan’s food and agricultural businesses having conversations focused on how they can continue to thrive in Michigan's new economy and how best MDARD can assist their continuous development.