LANSING- U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, today met with community leaders at Hunter Park GardenHouse in Lansing to discuss how the production and sale of more locally grown foods boosts the local economy. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, if every household spent just $10 dollars per week on locally grown food it would generate nearly $40 million in economic activity in Michigan. Senator Stabenow heard from local leaders who are working on food initiatives in Lansing that will help boost economic growth, support Mid-Michigan agriculture, and increase access to more locally grown, healthy food choices for families.

Chairwoman Stabenow said: “It was great to hear from community leaders who are leading efforts to make it easier for families, schools and restaurants to buy more locally grown foods from Michigan farmers. Buying local is a win for our economy, a win for Michigan agriculture and win for consumers who will have better access to healthy food choices. It is absolutely critical that Congress complete its work on a Farm Bill, which would expand support for local food hubs, farmers’ markets, community gardens, and other local food initiatives across our state.”

Joan Nelson, Executive Director of the Allen Neighborhood Center said: “Hunter Park GardenHouse and Allen Street Farmers Market are part of Allen Neighborhood Center’s network of synergistic projects that focus on locally grown food, strong neighborhoods, and economic development. We have relied on Senator Stabenow’s support on local food initiatives for over a decade, and we are extremely appreciative of her leadership.”

In June, the Senate passed Chairwoman Stabenow’s 2013 Farm Bill with wide bipartisan support (66-27). The Farm Bill expands support for community gardens, farmers’ markets and local food hubs to boost Michigan agriculture, our state’s second largest industry. The bill also strengthens crop insurance and provides disaster relief for fruit and vegetable growers who were affected by last year’s freeze and drought. While strengthening key initiatives to help farmers and agriculture businesses create jobs, the Farm Bill also cuts unnecessary programs and streamlines existing ones to reduce the deficit by $24 billion. For more information on the Farm Bill, click here.

Launched in 2008, Hunter Park GardenHouse is operated by Allen Neighborhood Center and serves as a year-round greenhouse where members of the community can grow food in 30 raised beds that can be sold later to the public. The GardenHouse also serves as an education and demonstration site with programs to help individuals learn about gardening.

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