Intro: The Downtown Market is only one aspect of the Grand Rapids local food scene. The following post explores other aspects of the local food scene including two well-known CSA restaurants. This post is excerpted from John Longchamp’s Thinking for Tomorrow blog
Grand Rapids has a burgeoning local food system. According to Local Harvest, an online resource with local food information for all 50 states, there are 21 CSAs in the Grand Rapids area. Notable CSAs in Grand Rapids include Trillium Haven Farm and Sandhill CSA. Trillium Haven Farm offers shares of beautiful, fresh and diverse produce June through October. Sandhill CSA grows offers shares of produce and pasture-raised meat. Sandhill also has a community calling – as stated on their website,

Sandhill CSA knows farming and food to be much more than subsistence. It is both vitality and restoration – sustainability enhanced through community involvement. Our vision of community building means shareholders not only make a farm profitable, but will enable Sandhill to provide professional community services to neighbors in need.”

Grand Rapids also has community gardens and greenhouses that are specifically geared to targeting the issue of food deserts, helping some of our neighborhoods that are most in need, I touch on work being done in this area by Our Kitchen Table a few paragraphs down.

Farm-to-table restaurants? We certainly have our fair share here in GR. Two of my personal favorite joints, Bartertown and Cult Pizza source nearly all of their ingredients from local farms. Bartertown is also notable for their collective business structure and governance, from their website:

“Bartertown Diner is a vegetarian, vegan, and raw, worker owned and operated diner. The goal of the restaurant is to promote fresh, local ingredients along with a positive, fair working environment.”

Oh, and those Trillium Haven Farm folks that were mentioned earlier – they helped form Trillium Haven restaurant, which now bears the name Terra GR. This farm-to-table restaurant has some serious foodie credentials. I will make one final mention (can you tell that I like to eat – an epicurean, let’s say?) The Green Well Gastro Pub – In addition to having an amazing and ever-changing menu that uses ingredients sourced from local farmers, they are based in a LEED Certified building, and use solar panels in their energy mix. These restaurants are all committed to providing affordable options for fresh and local food.

On top of all of this, Grand Rapids has a diverse and abundant history of both small and large-scale farmer’s markets, including the classic Fulton St. Farmer’s Market, and the brand new $30M, 130,000 ft2 Downtown Market. It is safe to say that Grand Rapids is a mecca for sustainably-minded foodies – foodies who are determined to keep cookin’ up change.

Blog post by John Longchamps