LANSING — State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) welcomed Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams on a tour of Kalamazoo, including the Bronson Healthy Living Campus and People’s Food Co-Op, on Friday, Oct. 23. The tour highlighted ongoing efforts to promote healthy living, stimulate economic development through food entrepreneurship and local efforts to support farm-to-table partnerships between local farmers and retailers.

“Kalamazoo is lucky to be a center of innovation, including new ways of thinking about how farmers, educators, retailers and cooperatives, and health professionals can work together to make our community healthier, both economically and physically,” Rep. Hoadley said. “I was honored to show Director Jamie Clover Adams the creative approaches to health and nutrition that are taking place here, including partnerships between farmers and food cooperatives, and among Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), Bronson Healthcare (Bronson) and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS).”

The Bronson Healthy Living Campus is a partnership between KVCC, Bronson and KCMHSAS that aims to educate students in culinary, health and urban agriculture issues; promote healthy lifestyles; and support new food production, preparation and distribution businesses. The People’s Food Co-op works with local farmers and food producers to connect local residents with food grown within a 100-mile radius and offers cooking classes and other nutritional programs for members and Kalamazoo-area residents.

“Connecting food and farming with nutrition and innovation are the hallmarks of growth in Michigan’s agri-food sector,” said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director. “I appreciated Representative Hoadley giving me the opportunity to learn more about the agriculture-based initiatives, and new opportunities, happening in Kalamazoo.”