Charter One Foundation awards 6 grants to boost local food producers

Posted on July 31, 2012

The wife-husband team Melody and Lynn Nye believe metro Detroiters deserve better than pork and chicken raised on huge factory farms.

So their Melo Farm in Yale, Mich., uses sustainable cage-free methods to raise hogs and chickens for sale at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

On Tuesday, they received one of six new grants from the Charter One Bank’s Charter One Foundation’s Growing Communities program, which supports local farmers and farmers’ markets.

The Nyes will use their $3,000 grant to buy a cargo trailer to increase the amount of product they can sell in Eastern Market, thus boosting their business.

“We’ve been spending an awful lot of time and money in infrastructure on our farm, and we’ve left absolutely zero funds for transportation,” Melody Nye said Tuesday at Eastern Market’s Shed 2, where Charter One announced the grants. “So this will increase our capacity for the restaurants and the people who buy from us here.”

Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corp., said the Nyes and other grant recipients are helping raise the profile of the local food movement in and around metro Detroit.

“Eastern Market believes that the local food system can be part of the promise to create significant jobs,” he said. “These vendors and farmers have a real opportunity for growth with their (Charter One)’s help.”

The other recipients include The Brinery, an Ann Arbor business specializing in natural brine fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles. It received a $3,000 grant to help buy a vegetable processor.

Also, Fuhr’s Valley View Fruit Farm in Imlay City will receive a $3,000 grant to help buy an automated donut-making machine. J&M Farm in Allenton, Mich., will receive $2,900 to boost meat-processing capacity.

Rising Pheasant Farms on Detroit’s east side will receive $3,000 to help create a solar-passive green house to extend their season. And Knagg Creek Farm in southwest Detroit will get $1,600 toward a watering system and perennial fruit stock.

To date, Charter One Foundation has provided $140,000 in grants to help expand local food resources in Detroit.

“We are proud to provide these grants to continue to helping growing Michigan businesses and improve the health and vitality of our region,” said David Lochner, senior vice president and director of commercial banking for Charter One.

By: John Gallagher