Hope you have a good week!

10. Some e-newsletters that may be of interest…. 

If you have others you think are good please share this info on the listserv.

1. ORGANIC BYTES is a publication for organic consumers and those interested in what is happening on the farm and markets with regard to organic production, certification regulations, sales and consumption.


6771 South Silver Hill Drive

Finland, MN 55603

Phone: (218)- 226-4164 Fax: (218) 353-7652


To subscribe to the electronic version go to this web page:


2. New Farm Newsletter offers research and highlights from organic and sustainable farmers implementing new ideas. to sign up for this electronic newsletter


3. New Ag Network is for farmers, researchers and educators teaming up for sustainable and organic ag solution in the Great Lakes region. to receive email notification of a new edition.  Go to to see the current edition.


4. Upper Midwest organic tree fruit growers network, a project of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).


5.  Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRI) offers their information on line or via a paid subscription to receive news through the mail. They foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming practices. You can get the subscription form at


6. ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service newsletter offers information on all aspects and types of organic and sustainable crop and animal production. to subscribe to the newsletter


7. E-magazine is an online home of the E/The environmental magazine with stories on environment including agriculture. Here is their web site to sign up: .  Here is their site to check out their e-magazine


11. Heads Up on the Aphid Front

Recent flight of aphids found on buckthorn will impact 2007 population



On Sunday/Monday, there was a huge flight of soybean aphid gynoparae (winged females) from soybeans to buckthorn. On Monday, I found females with tiny newly-deposited nymphs on every buckthorn shrub I examined around MSU. Many of these were ant-tended (i.e being protected), and I didn't see any ladybugs or other predators. These nymphs will mature into oviparae and lay eggs in October.  Suction trap catches throughout Michigan in September have been "0", but I expect that the trap catch from this week will have  SBA.  Heavy aphid numbers were also reported this week in Ontario and Ohio (apparently from the same flight), and last week from Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota.


Thus early indications point to higher SBA populations in 2007.


Chris D.



Dr. Christina DiFonzo

Field Crops Entomology Program

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI   48824



12. Try local, organic food in Mixed Greens event

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

By Jaye Beeler

The Grand Rapids Press

This event has past but it highlights some of our Michigan farmers!!

Lisa Rose Starner, executive director of Mixed Greens, worries about what you eat. She knows you can do better, so she is inviting you to a supper of locally grown organic foods.

In Thursday's Sprout! Mixed Greens fundraiser at The B.O.B., Todd Darby, executive chef at The B.O.B., assisted by other Gilmore Collection chefs, will fill plates with lime-chili-marinated beef skewers, beef and carrot chips with baba ghanouj, melon and mint skewers with cucumber yogurt dip, tabouleh and humus with pita chips.

Leave enough room for Michigan turkey lettuce wraps, heirloom tomato and mozzarella bruschetta, heirloom capricciosa salad skewers with balsamic vinegar reduction and sweet potato chips with three-apple salsa.

Also on the menu -- smoked whitefish dip with pita chips, butternut squash puree in phyllo cups, candied sweet potato skewers, roasted winter squash vegetables with basil, apple strudel and black bean brownies.

Starner made sure the majority of this food comes from local growers, such as Michael and Anja VanderBrug of Jenison's Trillium Haven Farm, Paul and Nancy Keiser of Marne's Agriculture and Health Alive and Steve and Kris Van Haitsma of Hudsonville's Mud Lake Farm.

Through her edible schoolyard gardens in Grand Rapids and Wyoming schools, Starner promotes growing, cooking and sharing food.

Modeled after legendary chef Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard, Starner's Mixed Greens program is, essentially, a garden and kitchen classroom.

About 300 elementary students tend raised beds of seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs. The kids learn about the food cycle from seed to table while engaging in lessons from geography (i.e. where citrus comes from) to ecology (turning vegetable scraps into composting.)

"The public needs to know why it's important to feed kids good food -- that's the main thing," Starner said. " Everyone can pull up a food story from their childhood, like 'My mom had a vegetable garden, and she canned' or 'On my grandpa's farm, they grew a lot of tomatoes, and we spent days playing there.'

"But ... that's becoming a lost memory for our kids. Their No. 1 food memory will be chicken McNuggets because food isn't real anymore."

Through Mixed Greens, Starner is hoping to prompt a lifestyle change through which more Grand Rapidians incorporate local food into their diets and even grow the food they consume.

"It takes time to eat well," Starner said. "It is something that you have to commit to. It's not easy, but isn't it worth it? We have to make a choice, and it's a communitywide choice that our kids need to know."

Heirloom tomato, mozzarella and basil bruschetta

8 very ripe heirloom tomatoes, peeled and seeded

1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed, spun dry and chopped

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 French baquettes, (about 12 ounces each) sliced 1-inch thick into 36 slices

1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

PREPARATION: Dice tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces; drain over a bowl for 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. In a nonaluminum bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic. Stir well and season with sea salt and black pepper. Gently stir in mozzarella cheese.

On a baking sheet, line up baguette slices. Toast in oven for about 3 minutes or until light golden brown. Spoon tomato mixture over each baguette slice. Place bruschetta on decorative platter. Garnish with basil leaves.

Makes 36 pieces

Nutrition information per piece: 122 calories, 5 grams fat, 7 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 1 grams fiber, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 216 milligrams sodium



13. Two dairies to end use of artificial hormones

Hope to compete with organic milk

By Bruce Mohl, Globe Staff  |  September 25, 2006

The region's biggest dairies are rushing to rid their bottled milk of artificial growth hormones in a bid to draw back customers who have switched to organic milk.

Dean Foods, which operates the Garelick plant in Franklin, and H.P. Hood, which operates a plant in Agawam, are demanding that regional farmer cooperatives supply them with milk from cows that haven't been injected with synthetic hormones that boost milk production.

Over the next few weeks, jugs of Hood and Garelick milk with labels pledging ``no artificial growth hormones" should start filling supermarket shelves -- a strategy the dairies hope will satisfy the chief concern of consumers going organic and do so at less than half the retail price of organic milk.

``The phenomenal success of organic milk, with growth rates of 20 percent or more, is driving our demand for milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones," said John Kaneb, the chief executive of Chelsea-based Hood.

Under federal standards, organic milk is from cows not treated with synthetic hormones or antibiotics; these cows are fed only organically grown food and have access to pastures.

By halting the use of synthetic hormones, which are marketed under the brand name Posilac by Monsanto Corp. of St. Louis, Hood and Dean are bringing their milk one step closer to the organic standard. Their milk is also screened for antibiotics.

Smaller dairies have previously marketed conventional milk produced without synthetic hormones, but the changes taking place now in southern New England represent the first large-scale conversion in the country. If more dairies jump on board, it could be a tipping point in the long-running debate about the safety of using synthetic hormones to spur milk production.

``Even though conventional milk is completely safe and POSILAC is completely safe, some people don't feel comfortable with it," said Marguerite Copel, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Dean Foods. POSILAC is a trademarked bovine protein product marketed by Monsanto .

Copel said Dean intends to see how consumers react to its new Garelick milk before expanding its hormone-free operations. Dean operates 100 dairy plants nationwide; eight will now be operating with milk from artificial-hormone-free cows.

Whole Foods Markets sells organic milk and a store-brand milk produced from cows not treated with POSILAC. At the chain's Boston store near Symphony Hall, most consumers yesterday were opting for the less expensive store-brand milk.

But Nasser Hussain, a teacher from Boston, said he buys organic milk largely because he opposes industrial farming. ``Organic to me means they let the cows out of the pen," he said.

Monsanto won Food and Drug Administration approval for POSILAC in 1993. The product, also known by the acronym rBST, is a synthetic version of the milk-inducing growth hormone that cows produce naturally. The company says a third of the nation's dairy herd is injected with POSILAC.

Even though the FDA and other researchers say POSILAC is perfectly safe for humans, many consumers remain troubled by its use. They fear that synthetic hormones cause cancer or premature development in children, and many have shifted to organic milk to avoid exposure. Other countries have banned POSILAC -- though primarily because of harmful side effects in cows.

Sales of organic milk represent only about 2.4 percent of total milk sales, but they are growing quickly, particularly in the Northeast. Nationally, sales of organic milk have nearly doubled over the last three years to $1.1 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association in Greenfield, despite the fact that organic milk costs $6 to $7.50 a gallon, compared with $2.50 to $3.50 for conventional milk. By contrast, sales of conventional milk have been flat.

Wal-Mart recently showed just how big the organic milk business is becoming by unveiling a private-label product that will cost less than most branded organics. Even Dean and Hood produce organic milk. Dean, in fact, owns Horizon Organic of Boulder, Colo., the nation's largest organic milk producer and owner of Organic Cow milk.

Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy in Maine in 2003 after it put labels on its milk saying its farmers pledged not to use artificial growth hormones. The case was settled when Oakhurst added a statement to its labels saying the FDA has found ``no significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormones."

Monsanto isn't saying what it plans to do in response to Dean and Hood. A spokesman for the company said the two dairy processors are depriving farmers of an FDA-approved technology.

There is no test that dairies can use to distinguish between artificial and naturally occurring growth hormones, which is why processors ask farmers to sign affidavits stating that they don't use artificial growth hormones.

The big farmer cooperatives in the Northeast are not telling their members to stop using POSILAC, but they are warning that their milk may have to be used in lesser-value dairy products.

Some dairy processors plan to pay a slight premium for milk from untreated cows, but farmers who are using POSILAC fear any increase in price will be more than offset by a dropoff in production.

Richard Woodger, a dairy farmer in Granville, said his gross income is already off $20,000 this year because of depressed milk prices. If he takes his cows off POSILAC, he said, his production is likely to drop by 25 percent.

Bruce Mohl can be reached at [log in to unmask].  [log in to unmask]">


Article can be found on Boston Globe online.




14. Environmental leader leaves board

Saturday, September 30, 2006

By Ted Roelofs

The Grand Rapids Press

Tom Leonard, executive director of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, is leaving the organization after 11 years at the helm. His departure was announced Friday by WMEAC board President Karel Rogers, who praised Leonard as a passionate environmental advocate.

"Tom has deep knowledge and understanding of environmental issues and he will continue to be a catalyst for change," Rogers said.

Until a permanent successor is found, he is to be replaced by interim Director Kayem Dunn.

Dunn, who for 18 years was executive director of the Grand Rapids-based Council for Interior Design Accreditation, said she was approached about taking the interim position within the last week.

"I am not a candidate" for the permanent position, Dunn said. "My role as interim director is focused on organization development."

One board member who did not want to be identified said Leonard might not fit the direction the organization looks to take in the years ahead, toward greater efficiency and community accomplishment.

"I think WMEAC wants to be a different organization and move to a different place," the board member said.

Leonard was appointed executive director in 1995. During his tenure, WMEAC has increased in size and has received national recognition for its work in business sustainability and water quality.

A number of new programs were established during Leonard's tenure, including West Michigan Rain Gardens, the West Michigan Forum for Sustainable Agriculture and WMEAC's first programs in environmental justice, which encompass inner-city working groups, childhood health programs, and bilingual education.

He serves as chairman of Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell's Environmental Advisory Committee.

Send e-mail to the author: [log in to unmask]

END of Michigan Organic News for weeks of Sept 18-Oct 1


Vicki Morrone

Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist

Michigan State University

C.S. Mott Sustainable Food Systems

303 Natural Resources Bldg.

East Lansing, MI 48824


517-282-3557 (cell)

517-353-3834 (fax)

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