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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Gary McDowell Visit Seeds & Spores Family Farm, Café Bodgea and Partridge Creek Farm in Marquette

Marquette, MI - Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell visited several local food and agricultural businesses in Marquette, including Seeds & Spores Family Farm, Cafe Bodega, and Partridge Creek Farm. McDowell continues to travel across the state to meet with food and agricultural businesses as they advance during Michigan's economic recovery and revitalization.

"Michigan is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation, and the Upper Peninsula is an important portion of that," said McDowell. "The food and agricultural industry in the Upper Peninsula help create economic opportunities for food and agricultural businesses while utilizing environmental sustainability practices. As I meet with companies around the state, I want businesses of all sizes to know MDARD is their partner in growth. When we work together, we can move Michigan forward boldly."

Seeds and Spores Family Farm is located just outside of Marquette. Their passion is growing delicious food for their community and leaving the land healthier than they found it. As a family, Seeds and Spores Family Farms have been in the area for about 20 years focusing on growing vegetables, fruit, and mushrooms. They also raise Heritage breed pigs, Scottish Highlander and Red Angus cattle, and laying hens.

Back in 1884, Bodega was home to the Third Street School, but now Cafe Bodega is a restaurant and bar owned by an art teacher who works locally teaching art to middle schoolers and her partner, who is the artist behind “Because Marquette.” Café Bodega prides itself on using local ingredients, like eggs from BSB Farms in Skandia and all-natural local beef from Superior Home Farms in Rapid River and has become known for its breakfast. Additionally, Café Bodega works with Partridge Creek Farm to compost everything before the plate.

Partridge Creek Farm is focused on reducing food insecurity, supporting food-based economic development, and providing education to the next generation on sustainable food systems through hands-on farming. The farm is working toward

closing food-insecurities gaps through fresh, locally grown food that is equitable and easy to access. They believe health and well-being depends on intentional environmental stewardship that includes planning for various land uses.

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.