Local food the focus of $1.25 million grant to Copper Shores

Copper Shores Community Health Foundation is excited to announce a $1,289,510 grant from the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program for Copper Shores Meals on Wheels programming. This funding was provided through the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

The purpose of this grant is to support and improve the resilience of local supply chains, allowing states, tribes, and territories to offer healthy and nutritious foods and beverages. With the funding, Copper Shores can offer assistance that is tailored to the challenges faced in the Copper Country, and offer foods that are unique to the area.

This grant will help Copper Shores serve the very best quality food to our local seniors with locally sourced food and establish working partnerships or relationships with a variety of local food producers. The grant allows organizations to form partnerships in a 400-mile radius, meaning there is potential to work with over 250 regionally based farmers and producers.

“For the past year we have been tweaking and testing menu items that include more seasonal produce and to now have the funds to launch a regional food program for our Meals on Wheels clients is incredibly exciting,” said Kathleen Harter, Program Director at Copper Shores Meals on Wheels. “We are so excited to produce high quality meals that are full of color, flavor, and celebrate the diversity of local foods that are grown in the upper Midwest. We are looking forward to working with and establishing long-standing partnerships that carry us forward beyond the life of the grant.”

By working with farmers, growers, jam producers, bakers, butchers and more to bring fresh local foods to Copper Country residents, Copper Shores will set up a long-term relationship with local vendors and put resources and money right into the local economy. 

These relationships will benefit local businesses and farmers by giving them consistent business, and benefit Copper Shores as a consistent buyer of high quality locally grown foods. This means that the programming created by the grant will be able to continue past the initial funding.

“We want to create a sustainable food system that supports small agricultural businesses while getting the most nutritious foods we can to our clients,” Harter said. 

Copper Shores is currently in the process of researching and developing expectations for produce amounts, costs and timing. Formal partnerships are expected to launch starting this fall. With the expected influx of local foods, Copper Shores is planning to improve its facilities and kitchen equipment to process goods more efficiently. The grant will help fund needed upgrades and aid Copper Shores as it expands its local food offerings. 

Copper Shores Meals on Wheels is a home delivered and congregate meal service that services Houghton and Keweenaw counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Meals on Wheels program is part of the programming offered by Copper Shores Community Health Foundation. Learn more about Copper Shores as a whole at coppershores.org and about the Meals on Wheels programming at coppercountryseniormeals.org.