Tuesday, March 26, the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development is hosting a one-day seminar at the MSU Union titled "Re-Imagining Our Economic System". Academic experts from around the country will convene four panel discussions with the following topics:
What is the Economy For?
How has the current economic system succeeded and in what ways has it failed us?
What could a New Economy look like?
Where do we go from here to achieve greater balance between our economic, social, and environmental systems?
To learn more about this event and related events MSU is supporting, see the MSU CCED website.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator supporting the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him via email or Twitter.
You may have heard by now that food carts are all the buzz in some cities across the country. The one that probably takes the cake is Portland, OR, with over 500 scattered throughout the city. But a little bit of this craze is coming to Michigan and for good reason.
Mark’s Carts was the first true stationary “food cart pod” (a grouping of food carts) in Michigan, opening two years ago in Ann Arbor. With eight individually owned food carts serving a diverse array of food from early spring to late fall, it has proven to be a magnet for townies, the business community, and students who want to enjoy delicious local food and an informal outdoor communal seating experience.
But it’s not just about the food! Well, okay, it’s mostly about the food -- but it’s so much more. For the guests, it’s the whole experience of trying different foods in a casual outdoor setting with an opportunity for spontaneous social interactions. For the vendors, it is an affordable entry into the food business which can be an incubator to try out new recipes and marketing strategies and to develop a loyal following before they move on to a more permanent establishment.
That is exactly what happened to one very successful food cart called The Lunch Room. They tried out different fares on their vegan menu over the course of two years, ( while occasionally providing some musical offerings and food tasting contests as well). Among the favorites: barbecue tofu sandwiches, Pad Tai and their hard to resist cookies. Building on their success, they plan to open a more permanent restaurant in the Kerrytown area, one of the most vibrant gathering places in Ann Arbor.
It is just this sort of organic entrepreneurial creativity that not only positively impacts the local economy, but contributes to a community's unique identity and vibrancy, and emotionally connects people to their place!
Colleen Layton is Director of Policy Development for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 734.669.6320 or by firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Snyder Administration recently initiated a public input process to gather feedback about the State's energy policy. Specific areas of focus include the renewable energy standard, energy efficiency incentives and electric choice. We encourage League members to submit their comments before April 25 at http://www.michigan.gov/energy. In addition to the website, there will seven in-person listening sessions in various locations starting February 14 and ending April 22. See http://www.michigan.gov/energy/0,4580,7-230-54408---,00.html for the complete schedule of events.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator with the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him by email or on Twitter.
The 2012 CEA finalists after being selected at the 2012 Capital Conference.
The Village of Lexington in Michigan’s Thumb region as well as Albion, South Haven and St. Joseph in the southern portion of the state are among the first communities to enter the Michigan Municipal League’s 2013 Community Excellence Award (CEA) competition.
The CEA is a spirited competition that recognizes innovative solutions taking place in MML-member communities. The contest officially gets under way during the League’s Capital Conference (April 9-10 in Lansing) but communities interested in participating can submit entry forms now at this link.
The small Village of Lexington, population 1,178, was the first to announce its entry into the CEA, affectionately called “The Race for the Cup” and St. Joseph, the 2007 winner of the Cup, and South Haven, and Albion entered this week. The League is seeking nominations from communities of all sizes from throughout the state. The 2012 winner was Grandville and you can view other past winners here. You can view past CEA presentations here.
Communities will compete in the first round of the competition during regional meetings at the League’s Capital Conference. Attendees of the Regional Roundtables will vote on the projects, and the regional winner will go on to compete at League's Annual Convention taking place in Detroit in September.
Remember, giving a five minute, “elevator pitch” style presentation at your Regional Roundtable at our Capital Conference is the ONLY way to enter!
Here's how to get involved in this year's CEA competition:
1.) Register: Click here for the online Community Excellence Award entry form.
2.) Prepare Entry: Prepare a five (5) minute verbal “elevator pitch” style presentation. Optional: Bring a 2 x 3 ft display board of your project/initiative; we will display it on an easel during the meeting.
Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317 and email@example.com.