About the Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council

The Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council (GGRFSC) was founded in 2001. Our geographic area is West Michigan with a concentraion in Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa counties. Our goals include working to build and develop a just and sustainable food system and help establish food security for everyone. Download our brochure.

Who are We? - The Food Systems Council is a non-profit, membership based organization that is a collaborative of west Michigan community-based, governmental, non-profit and private organizations and individuals. It brings together chefs, environmental and religious organizations, planners, farmers, community gardeners, conservationists, educators, health professionals, parents and others seeking to broaden the dialogue about our present food system and and create alternatives.

Our projects include:

  • Community Gardens - strengthening and supportin current gardens; assisting with startup gardens; maintianing a Community Gardens Network and working on urban agriculture policy to support urban food production including community gardens.
  • West Michigan Fresh Guide to Local Food - We publish and distribute this 48 page printed and web-based guide on a regular basis to help people find sources for local food, including farms, farmers' markets, grocers and restaurants.
  • Farmers' Markets - We help communities with market start-up and help shoppers find them; we run the South East Area Farmers' Market in Grand Rapids
  • Fostering Community Dialogue- We work to initiate conversations about food issues through our conferences and the Building Food Power project, community-wide forums and co-sponsoring community education events

GGRFSC Board of Directors (Click here)

Mission of the GGRFSC

"Restoring connections to food, place and community."

Vision of the GGRFSC

We envision a just and sustainable locally oriented Food System


  • Economic reward, democratic participation, and community support make work anywhere from field to table a desirable vocation.
  • All participants are conscious to assure that the food we consume does not exploit any person anywhere in the system.
  • Dignified and equitable access to food is ensured for all.
  • Animals are treated humanely.


  • Land use and growth patterns reflect a concern for ecosystems and human health.
  • There is local provision and reliance upon renewable, non-polluting energy and materials throughout the entire food chain.
  • Urban agriculture reuses waste materials and captures stormwater.
  • All land based agriculture practices build healthy soil ecosystems and are dependent on biodiversity and locally appropriate technology for productivity.
  • We are careful stewards of our natural and cultivated genetic endowment.

Locally oriented:

  • Raising, preparing, and eating a great variety of fresh, local, healthful food is one of the region's common values.
  • No one need go beyond the region for a healthful diet.
  • Food consumption is possible within walking distance of its production.
  • From an early age we learn experientially where and how our food is raised.
  • Regional food production ranges from a few large farms to many small farms to numerous public and private gardens to potted vegetable plants in downtown city apartments.
  • Food processing centers focus on local production and distribution in order to supply institutions, restaurants and grocery stores.
  • Our connections to food beyond the region, while minimal, provide security in the event of food emergency, as well as opportunity to trade for foods impractical to produce regionally.