Love is Love is Love is Food: Up North Pride

Traverse City’s Up North Pride is a celebration of the queer community in Northern Michigan, but show up at any one of their events or scan their sponsor list, and you’ll see it’s also a celebration of local food and business. If you could hear board member Kendall Kotcher gush about the fruit hand pies from Modern Bird served at multiple of their Big Gay Brunch events, you’d understand how much this organization loves local food businesses. 

Pride Veggies

Great food and great vibes go hand in hand, but sponsorship at Up North Pride is about more than just serving really good eats. It’s about working together with businesses committed to creating safe spaces. This means the queer community and allies attending Up North Pride can feel confident that sponsors have been vetted and are LGBTQIA+ friendly, have diversity in their organization and actually walk the walk rather than simply trying to benefit from an easy donation. 

Even better? Businesses can support a great cause with their profits while also seeing the benefits of being a known safe space. They hear directly from their customers about how important that sponsorship is. 

We talked to a number of Up North Pride sponsors to better understand why they chose to sponsor the organization and what they hear from customers and staff about that sponsorship. 

Sue Kurta, Boss Mouse Cheese

“One of the best parts of owning your own business is choosing where to put your money, supporting things you believe in, and walking your talk. Many customers at our farmers markets mention our participation at UNP’s annual Rainbow Dinner and thank us for the support. My tiny staff has included gay, trans, and senior folks in my 12 years in business, I strongly believe in hiring diverse populations, especially in Traverse City.”

Sam Brickman, Bubbie’s Bagels

“It has always been a priority of ours to be a safe, and open space to all. I think our customers (especially those who live in our community) really appreciate our mindset on supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and Up North Pride. It also allows our staff, many of whom are part of that community, to feel like they have a supportive and safe work environment to come into each day.” 

Tina Schuett, Rare Bird

“While we feel that Rare Bird creates a physical space, UNP helps create the larger feeling of the Traverse City area being a safe zone while advocating for the rights of all.” 

Eric Patterson, The Cook’s House

“We at The Cooks’ House support Up North Pride because it is the right thing to do, as well as one of our owners belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. We believe that the more people see the LGBTQ+ community, the more they will come to understand just how amazing the community is. I mean, have you been to one of the events?! There is always so much love and acceptance. Nothing makes us happier than seeing people being able to be themselves surrounded and supported by those who want them to be themselves. Up North Pride has done so much good in our northern Michigan communities that we would be remiss to not support them.” 

Whether you live in Northern Michigan or are planning a trip to experience Up North Pride for their Pride Month events in June or September Pride Week, get ready to eat really well! 

Want to support an Up North Pride sponsor?

Check out this incredible list of food businesses sponsoring Pride this year: 

Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates, Cooks’ House, Bubbie’s Bagels, Higher Grounds Coffee, The Little Fleet, Farm Club, Oryana, Rare Bird BrewPub, Redspire Brunch House, Aiko Street Food, Sugar2Salt, Trattoria Stella, Amor Comida, Cherry Republic, Ludovikos Cucina Mexicana, 9 Bean Rows, Island Thyme Catering, FRiED, Edson Farms, Boss Mouse Cheese, The Good Bowl, Early Bird Foods, Modern Bird, Glendale Avenue, Radish Streetfood (no longer here, but worth mentioning), The Cheese Lady, Iron Fish Distillery, Baia Wines, Short’s, Bell’s, Mawby, Ethanology, Higher Grounds Coffee, Cuppa Joe, Earthen Ales, Stormcloud Brewing, Bos Wine, Bel Lago Vineyards and Winery, Gilchrist Farm, Lakeview Hill Farm & Market, and Open Air Farms

Pride flag in front of Grocer's Daughter Chocolate
Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate

Christina Marbury is the Marketing Director for Taste the Local Difference. You can contact her at [email protected]