MDARD awards grants to expand Michigan’s capacity for fresh produce, meats, baked goods and more


LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development awarded Value Added and Regional Food System grants to 18 Michigan producers, processors and community development organizations.

Three grants were awarded to organizations in the Upper Peninsula. The grants are intended to help expand, attract or develop agricultural processing in Michigan through investments in technology and equipment, feasibility studies, healthy food access, regional food systems and urban agriculture.

“The demand for Michigan’s food and agriculture products has never been higher, whether it’s globally, nationally, or locally,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “And like any other business or industry, being able to meet an increasing demand in a timely way without compromising quality is critical to long-term success. These grants will help businesses and organizations across Michigan improve and expand operations, as well as help build a successful future for them and the communities they serve.”

118 eligible proposals were submitted totalling nearly $9.1 million in requested funding. Of those, $1.3 million was awarded for 18 projects which will also use nearly $4.8 million in matching funds.

  • DeGreif’s processing in Sault Ste. Marie; $95,765 to expand livestock processing for the Eastern Upper Peninsula.
  • Upper Peninsula Masonic Association in Marquette; $49,800 to expand the Masonic Arts, Theatre & Innovation (MÄTI) Company Community Kitchen equipment and programming for increased value-added food production to local food entrepreneurs
  • Trenary Toast Bakery Inc. in Trenary; $45,900 to expand the bakery’s oven capacity.
  • Aid in Milan Inc. in Milan; $23,000. to xpand the food pantry for direct food assistance.
  • Amplify GR – Grand Rapids – $100,000. Expand the Boston Square Incubator kitchen and food hub
  • Byron Center Meats – Byron Center – $100,000. Expand a meat packaging line to increase capacity for livestock producers. 
  • Communities First Inc. in Flint; $100,000 to expand the Community Enrichment Center’s kitchen incubator in the food desert, improving entrepreneurial food processing in North Flint.
  • Cook Family Processing in Gaylord; $100,000. Expand livestock processing facility, increasing overall capacity in Northern Michigan.
  • Graceland Fruit Inc. in Frankfort; $100,000. Expand a product line for Michigan grown Montmorency cherries.
  • J&A Sunrise Farms LCC in Bailey; $8,660. Expand the cold storage and establish a farm market store.
  • Michigan Blueberry Growers Association in Grand Junction; $100,000. Expand value added opportunities for Michigan blueberry producers with a new heat-sealed packaging process
  • .Michigan State University Extension in East Lansing; $52,600. Purchase bottling and canning equipment for new product development and production with entrepreneurs.
  • Misty Lane Farm LLC in Stockbridge; $10,000. Expand on-farm cold storage and renovations for the farm store and food hub.
  • Mount Pleasant Food Co-op in Mount Pleasant; $100,000. Relocation and expansion of the GreenTree Cooperative Grocery.
  • Peace Tree Parks in Detroit; $98,000. Establish the E. Vernor produce distribution center for fresh organic produce and hot food.
  • Riley Orchards Receiving and Storage LLC in Mears; $100,000. New receiving, processing, and storage facility for asparagus, cherries, and apples.
  • SEEDS in Traverse City; $18,100. Building capacity for expansion of the SEEDS’ farm and value-added processing at the Historic Barns Park.
  • Tomato Bliss LLC in Galien; $98,100. Increase and expand processing line for heirloom tomatoes grown by independent Michigan farmers

MDARD promotes and manages several competitive grant programs through the Agriculture Development Division. More about these programs can be found at

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