By Kevin Walker
LANSING, Mich. – The 7th annual Michigan Food and Agriculture Summit is set to be held in March.
This free event, formerly known as the Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit, is jointly hosted by the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development(MDARD) and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.(MEDC).
The Michigan Food and Ag Summit offers significant growth opportunities for Michigan's food suppliers and growers, said the MEDC's Bobby Chasniss.
“Our free event brings together purchasers including grocers, retailers, distributors, institutional buyers, or anyone looking to procure Michigan-made food, with suppliers around the state, all with one common goal of strengthening Michigan's food supply chain,” Chasniss said.
The summit is mainly about helping businesses connect with each other and help each other grow their respective businesses.
“We've had a number of businesses tell us they've made connections after meeting at the Food and Ag Summit,” said Jamie Zitko-Somers, deputy director for agriculture development at MDARD.
According to Zitko-Somers, M&R Ventures, a company that specializes in creatively adapting traditional recipes to bring out the best in food quality, met with people from Traverse City based Cherry Capital Foods at a previous summit. Due to that initial meeting followed by subsequent meetings, M&R Ventures was able to leverage the logistic services offered by Cherry Capital Foods and significantly expand its business.
“Pure Michigan Business Connect and their Agriculture Summit helped us primarily in securing a distributor,” said M&R Venture's Director of Sales and Marketing April Seltmann. “Thanks to this opportunity, we were able to expand our network within the food industry by connecting with other Ag Summit attendees.”
“It's one of our premier events each year, and always one that I look forward to,” Chasniss said. Chasniss is director of Pure Michigan Business Connect, a division of MEDC that's directly responsible for putting on the event. “We have buyers participating this year that include Kellogg, Chartwells, University of Michigan, Whole Foods, Van Eerden Food Service and more. We encourage all growers and food suppliers who have not already registered to do so by visiting our web site,” listed below.
This one day event is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. It will consist of facilitated match meetings between buyers and suppliers, based on purchasing needs, as well as additional open networking opportunities and presentations from industry experts.
“As of right now, we have about 200 registered suppliers and other businesses slated to attend,” Zitko-Somers said last week. “Some of those are looking to make matches with other businesses, while others are just looking to network and get better educated about what's happening.”
Anyone interested in attending this year's event can find out more and register by going online at http://pmbc.connect.space. More information is also available online at http://miagsummit.com. Also, event organizer Katy Till of the MEDC can be reached at (314) 304-4012.