4. Secrets to a Successful Greenhouse and Business (2007 Edition) book review ,
In response to many requests I would like to recommend the best book I am aware of on sustainable greenhouse operation and marketing. The book is titled Secrets to a Successful Greenhouse and Business (2007 Edition) , by T.M. Taylor. This 280 page 8 ˝ x 11 book is well illustrated and packed full of resources such as who to sell to, a nationwide wholesale plant buyers list, which plants sell best, how to sell to large chains and supermarkets, how to grow organically or hydroponically, growing vine-ripe tomatoes, wholesale plant price guide, supplier directory, and even complete plans for a 30' x 48' or 30' x 96' greenhouse with an inflated double layer poly roof.
This book is a complete guide to starting and operating a high-profit organic or hydroponic business that benefits the environment. Whether you are a beginner or a serious farmer who wants to start and grow a profitable greenhouse business, this is the book for you. Nowhere else will you find this specialized information so thoroughly organized.
Taylor is an experienced grower and successful marketer. He covers all of the major growing systems, greenhouse design and planning (2 plans are included), insect and disease control, marketing and economics. The book is available from HYPERLINK "http://www.back40books.com/get_dept_1014.htm" http://www.back40books.com/get_dept_1014.htm for $29.95 and free shipping. Credit cards and university purchase orders are accepted. To order by phone call Back 40 Books at 866.596.9982 from 10 - 4 Central time. Mail orders to: Back40Books.com, Resilience Research Farm, Box 8, Hartshorn MO 65479.
Resilience Research Farm
Hartshorn Missouri 65479
5. Seeking Michigan Products
MICHIGAN PRODUCTS WANTED
From KVOA News 4, Tuscon Az
Spring is in the air and people are getting ready for a new season. Some of them are looking for Michigan products. Matt Birbeck, Project Consultant with MSU's Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, passes along two requests that he has received recently. You may want to share these opportunities with vendors at your market, to help them expand sales. Please direct any questions to the businesses. As with any prospective business venture, it will be important for all parties to investigate the deal thoroughly before making commitments.
You can learn more about the Product Center and its services at www.productcenter.msu.edu
John Buda and Susan Muer, St. Clair Shores, MI, owners of Johnny B Cookies (www.johnnybcookies.com , would like to start a Michigan products section to add to their cookie, coffee retail side. They have asked the Product Center to help them locate people interested in providing sauces, spices, popcorn, cheeses, jams, jellies, gluten-free products, candy, chocolate, salad dressings, bars -- items that are interesting AND Michigan-made. They cannot take meat or non-food items at this time, but if the store flourishes, this could expand. All items will be purchased on a cash basis, probably just one case to start, as a trial run. Contact John or Susan at 586-779-6675.
6. 'Slow food' groups support local
farmers, culinary heritage
ORONOKO TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- While there's no shortage of fast food junkies out there, Paul Landeck is hooked on "slow food."
He's among a growing number of people who are embracing the slow food movement, which is less about the speed with which a meal is served and more about preserving and celebrating a region's agricultural diversity and culinary heritage.
"It's important to just preserve the art of sitting down around a table and enjoying one another's company," says Landeck, vice president and general manager of Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant. "That's really where it starts."
In some places, people committed to eating and learning more about the food produced near where they live call themselves "localvores."
An Italian named Carlo Petrini started the slow food revolution in 1986 as a way of protesting the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Rome. He founded an international organization, called Slow Food, dedicated to reviving the pleasures of dining and promoting the connection between plate and planet.
Petrini has written a book, "Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, and Fair," that is to be released next month.
In January 1996, Landeck established what he says is the first group of slow food enthusiasts in the United States. About a dozen people attended the first meeting more than 11 years ago; the group's membership now stands at 70.
Members of Slow Food Michiana, based in southwestern Michigan near the Indiana border, get together five or six times per year for events. They usually meet at restaurants to hear someone speak about some aspect of food and to enjoy leisurely meals featuring locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats and wines. Nonmembers are welcome to participate.
The group arranges its dinner get-togethers by contacting restaurants weeks in advance and working with them on the menus. Meals always have themes, and past ones include Japanese, Spanish, French and Indian cuisines, a pig roast and a dinner that remained a mystery until it was served.
Members have also enjoyed Jewish, Amish and Kurdish meals. Petrini has dined twice with the group, Landeck says.
The number of slow food groups in Michigan, one of the nation's most agriculturally diverse states, has grown from one to six since Landeck founded his group. About 12,000 people are in the 150-plus local chapters in the U.S., and worldwide there are about 80,000 members.
"It's a way of appreciating our local food heritage and building community, by bringing people together to form connections so food isn't just about nutrition, it's about the social component, it's about the sharing, it's about having fun," says Melinda Curtis, an independent marketing and public relations consultant to the Michigan Department of Agriculture who founded Slow Food Detroit.
In Hawaii, the 3-year-old Slow Food O'ahu, which has about 60 members, is fighting to limit genetic modifications to taro, the roots of which are made into poi, one of the state's best known foods, says group co-leader Karen Miyano. In Hawaiian folklore, taro is considered to be a sacred ancestor of native Hawaiians, linking them to island soil.
"This is the most important crop to the Hawaiian people," says Miyano, who works as a personal chef.
Up for dinner and a movie? Barry Infuso, who established Slow Food Tucson six years ago, says his 100-member group organizes a film festival each January that includes a meal after each flick. "Chocolat" and "Babette's Feast" are among the movies that have been shown.
"The money we raise from that goes to support local food projects in Tucson," says Infuso, a culinary arts instructor at Pima Community College and a food writer for a local publication.
Grace Singleton says the focus of her 75-member Ann Arbor-based group, Slow Food Huron Valley, which she founded in November 2002, is helping people to learn more about the food they eat and to identify local producers and their different specialty crops.
"I think it's really important to recognize that there's a diversity of crops and a diversity of agriculture that is starting to be lost in the U.S.," says Singleton, managing partner of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor.
She says some varieties of apples, for example, have been developed so that they look appealing and store well "but they don't taste very good. I think we got used to that in the U.S. and we didn't realize what we were losing."
Mike Hamm, an agriculture professor at Michigan State University whose scholarly work focuses on local connections between farmers and consumers, says buying food from producers within the state helps Michigan's sagging economy, which has been hurt in recent years by plant closings and layoffs in the automotive industry.
"With Michigan having such economic challenges right now, I think there's a lot to be said for taking the $16 to $20 billion of food expenditures each year by our population and internalizing those sales as much as possible," says Hamm, adding that at least 25 percent of his family's grocery budget goes toward locally produced food.
Hamm's wife, Lisa, runs Lansing-based Slow Food Red Cedar. They have a 25-acre farm near the university where they raise chickens and keep a vegetable garden.
The couple regularly buys fresh milk from a dairy near St. Johns, about 30 miles from their farm. Each year, they purchase and freeze tart cherries from a grower near Traverse City, about 175 miles away.
"I like to know where my food comes from as much as possible," he says. "There's something about knowing who produced it and supporting them and being able to say 'hi' to them and knowing that they're taking care of me."
On the Net:
International Slow Food group: http://www.slowfood.com/
Slow Food USA: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/
Slow Food Michiana: http://www.slowfoodmichiana.com/home.htm
Slow Food Huron Valley: http://www.sfhv.org/
Slow Food O'ahu: http://www.slowfoodoahu.com/
Slow Food Tucson: http://www.slowfoodtucson.org/
Reuters. Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:38AM EDT
By Charles Abbott
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. farmers are having a hard time keeping up with Americans' voracious appetite for organic foods, say industry leaders, who want federal officials to boost spending on crop research and market development.
Organic food sales grow by as much as 20 percent a year and were forecast for $16 billion during 2006, or nearly 3 percent of all U.S. food spending, the Organic Trade Association said at a pair of congressional hearings.
"In the United States, the buzz about organic has become a steady hum," said Lynn Clarkson, an organic farmer and member of the OTA board. "Organic foods are increasingly sold in mainstream retail establishments, which together represent roughly 46 percent of sales."
Clarkson told a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Tuesday that organic production was climbing "but not at a rate to meet the consumer demand" so imports are rising. Mark Lipson of the Organic Farming Research Foundation presented a similar assessment at the House of Representatives Agriculture subcommittee hearing last week.
According to the U.S. Agriculture Department, there are at least 8,500 organic farmers with more than 4 million acres of crop and pasture land.
A "fair share" of USDA research and outreach spending should be $120 million a year, 10 times current outlays, said Lipson.
Two Iowa counties offer real estate tax breaks to farmers who convert to organic crops. Woodbury County, home to Sioux City, also looks first for locally-grown organic when it buys food for its correctional facilities.
"A major problem has been supply," said Robert Marqusee, the county's rural development chief. He said organic farming keeps young and small farmers in business while fuel ethanol, the Corn Belt darling, puts "industrial farming on steroids."
Organic farming means growing crops and livestock without use of antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides or genetically engineered seeds and animals. Fields must be free of chemicals for three years before their crops can be certified as organic.
"The conversion process may be quite daunting," says the OTA, but USDA provides scanty advice for growers wanting to go organic. It recommended USDA provide more expert advice to growers, put more money into research, strengthen crop insurance coverage for organic farms and hire more people to write rules for the expanding array of organic products at home and double-check organic production overseas.
Kathie Arnold of the National Organic Coalition, a group favoring stringent standards for the sector, suggested the government "provide financial and technical support" to farmers during the three-year transition to organic.
Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist
Michigan State University
C.S. Mott Sustainable Food Systems
303 Natural Resources Bldg.
East Lansing, MI 48824
If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field http://list.msu.edu/archives/mich-organic.html