State funding to boost farmers—and build Pontiac’s first new grocery store in a decade

State funding to boost farmers—and build Pontiac’s first new grocery store in a decade

Courtesy/Micah 6 Community via Facebook

By Kyle Kaminski

March 25, 2024

Grants awarded through the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development aim to improve supply chains, build opportunities for farmers, and create more jobs.

MICHIGAN—A $65,000 state grant awarded this month to a small nonprofit organization in Pontiac will help launch the first new grocery store to open in the city in about the last 10 years.

The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development this month awarded two grants totaling $125,000 to help improve local supply chains, generate new opportunities for farmers and grocery stores, and create new jobs within their local communities.

Among the recipients: Micah 6 Community, a small community development organization in Pontiac that’s dedicated, in part, to helping local residents maintain access to healthy food. 

The nonprofit organization was picked to receive $65,000 through the state’s Food and Agriculture Investment Program to launch a new commercial kitchen, a small farm market, and a food cooperative (or co-op)—marking the city’s first new grocery store in about 10 years. 

The project will lead to the creation of six new jobs, as well as boost the organization’s overarching goal of providing easy access to more local produce in Pontiac. State officials also said the project will support local farmers by creating a new space to deliver their products, interface with customers, meet food entrepreneurs, and put their product on the shelves.

“Pontiac sits in the heart of Oakland County, and we believe can serve as the meeting place of our cities and farms, our growers, and consumers,” said Coleman Yoakum, founder and executive director of Micah 6. “Our vision for this center will be a place that brings these elements together to spark a food business renaissance in our city and across the community.”

Hartford Farm Supply, which provides controlled storage to apple growers, also received $60,000 in state grant funding to boost its storage capacity and create two new full-time jobs.

Tim Boring, the director of the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) said the grants are designed to boost Michigan agriculture and the food industry.

“MDARD and Gov. Whitmer are committed to advancing food and agriculture business development in a way that reflects our values, creates economic advancement opportunities and produces good-paying jobs in Michigan,” Boring said in a statement. “The grant investments underscore exactly why Michigan is the place to be for food and agriculture businesses.”

READ MORE: 6 ways Whitmer’s state budget plan invests in rural Michigan

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  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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