3. Would you like to be included in a list of Organic Farmer mentors in Michigan???


As an organic vegetable/field crop educator I would like to share a very valuable resource, OUR ORGANIC FARMERS!  I am creating a list of organic farmers who are interested in sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise to less experienced and new organic farmers.  This list would be available to extension educators and others on web site (Jan 25 to be launched). The list would provide new or upcoming organic farmers seeking information and guidance with a list of organic farmer mentors.  It’s your call how much you offer as a mentor, whether it be just a phone call or a farm visit or even giving a presentation.



If you are interested in being included on this list please send your contact info to Vicki Morrone, MSU ([log in to unmask]) or 517-353-3542 phone or 517-353-3834 fax the following info.



Address (if you want)



What level of mentoring you would like to offer:

Phone conversations, visits on your farm, present your farm to a group, offer info at a farmers’ meeting. Just let me know so you only receive requests for info as you wish.


Thanks and looking forward to building resources WITH you for our future organic farmers!



4. Needed: Organic Food for Conference in Ann Arbor, MI


Hi All,

Our office received a call from Lisa with Healthy Traditions Network. She is coordinating a conference on Feb. 2-4 in Ann Arbor and is looking for organic food for the event. If you can help, please contact her at [log in to unmask] or by calling 248-705-0326 or pass this message along to others who may be able to help.



Elaine Brown

MIFFS Executive Director


5. Dr. Oran B. Hesterman to Lead New 'Fair Food Foundation'



New foundation seeks to increase access to fresh, local and healthy food in

                        urban and rural communities


    DETROIT, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Oran B. Hesterman today announced

the creation of the Fair Food Foundation ( Because the Foundation believes access to fresh, healthy food is a basic human right, it will promote the development of a fair and equitable food system that makes fresh, local and sustainable food available to all by reconnecting urban and rural

communities and empowering local leadership. Currently program director of

the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Food and Society Initiative, Dr. Hesterman

will serve as the Fair Food Foundation's president and chief executive

officer. Beginning operations in January 2008 with a focus on southeast

Michigan, the Fair Food Foundation will become national and international

in scope over time. The Foundation's startup budget will range between $12

million and $20 million per year, primarily to be awarded as grants to

non-profit organizations. The budget will increase as the Foundation grows.

    "Our vision is to create a food system that reconnects us to the food

we eat, our families, communities and the Earth," says Dr. Hesterman. "We

will work in partnership with community leaders and organizations in both

urban and rural settings to help create new solutions and relationships at

the source."

    Dr. Hesterman is a longtime leader in sustainable agriculture and has

published more than 400 reports and articles about the food system. As

program director at Kellogg, he worked with the Michigan Governor's Office

to develop the highly-acclaimed Michigan Food Policy Council.

    A Kellogg National Fellow from 1987 to 1990, Dr. Hesterman also served

as a professor of agriculture at Michigan State University. He returned to

the Kellogg Foundation as a program director in January 1998.

    Dr. Hesterman earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the

University of California, Davis. He received his doctorate in agronomy and

business administration from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

    The FAIR FOOD FOUNDATION is solely dedicated to creating a

relationship- centered food system that provides access to fresh, local and

sustainable food for all.



SOURCE Fair Food Foundation/



Nicole de Beaufort

Vice President



585 Grand Avenue

St Paul, MN 55102

main: 651-690-2733

direct: 651-690-3133

cell: 202-236-0207

fax: 651-690-0410

skype: ndebeaufort


6. Corn pest expansion consequence of transgenic crops?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007



A corn pest that can devastate yields may be increasing in prevalence across Illinois and other states because Bt crops are reducing predators that once kept the pest at bay.


That was the word from an Iowa State University researcher who spoke during the recent Illinois Crop Protection Technology Conference, Urbana.


Western bean cutworms, a major pest in Nebraska and Colorado, was first detected in Illinois in 2004 and has spread to 49 counties, according to Marlin Rice, an Extension entomologist at Iowa State.


Rice and his colleagues attempted to learn why a pest that was rare in Iowa six years ago has spread as far east as central Ohio.


In laboratory experiments and field studies, Rice tested the bean cutworm’s survival when placed together with corn earworm, which is the more aggressive of the two pests and will kill the bean cutworm. Both pests were allowed to feed on silks from Herculex and YieldGard plants.


The bean cutworms had better survival rates when they fed on YieldGard, which is not labeled for cutworm control, compared to Herculex, which is. Both hybrids are labeled for corn earworm control.


“Our theory is that increased (use) of Bt cotton and YieldGard corn has suppressed (populations) of corn earworms, which are predators of western bean cutworms. This allows (more) bean cutworms to survive,”

Rice said.


“YieldGard corn may be one of the reasons for more damage from western bean cutworm,” Rice said. “It may be influencing (pest) competition in the field.”


Bean cutworms have become established in Illinois, “but we’ll have to wait a couple of years to see if it is an economic problem,” Rice said.


He recommended farmers scout their fields and time insecticide treatments for when eggs or young larvae reach economic thresholds.


If western bean cutworm becomes an economically damaging pest, farmers should consider planting Herculex hybrids, he said. — Kay Shipman

7. New Year, New "Organic"

Local Harvest Jan 07 Newsletter

For many people the New Year is a rejuvenating time for taking on new challenges, committing ourselves to life-affirming resolutions or recommitting ourselves to goals that we have previously set for ourselves but may have let slide with the chaos of the holidays. Buying local and buying organic are two goals that are increasingly on many peoples lists, and with the increasing availability of organic foods, the second of these goals is becoming easier for people around the country to commit to.

With "Organic" becoming so pervasive, it is important that we look at what is happening to the meaning of the term, and to consider what the current marketing trends are doing to the "organic food" movement and what the effects of this are on small farms.

Mega chain stores such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Wegmans, Safeway, to name a few, are now selling organic food items often at lower prices than can be found in our local mom-and-pop co-ops, farmers' markets, or natural food stores. A lot of these new organic food items to hit the supermarkets are now being produced by major food processors such as Kellogg and Kraft, who are still pumping out Rice Krispies and macaroni and cheese, but now with "organic" options.

There is a sea change occurring in the organics industry as these large producers and retailers stake their claim in this booming new market of everything and anything "organic." And while it seems that the hugely profitable organic market signals the occurrence of a much needed shift in consciousness about our food choices and how they impact our bodies, quality of life, families, and our environment, it also seems necessary to step back and think about the larger implications of the recent corporate embracing of the "organic" label.

While Wal-Mart is marketing its new emphasis on organic food as being a democratizing move towards making organic food available to everyone, many worry that the retail giant's new "Organics for Everyone" slogan merely signifies the repackaging and clever, if not insidious, marketing of processed junk food. Many large food processors are now offering "mass market" organics. While these companies will still have to meet the same organic standards that other producers have to comply with, the "organic" label, used in this way, will nevertheless merely help to legitimize packaged and processed food and turn the consumer's attention away from other fresh, unprocessed, and more sustainable food options.

Others worry that the entrance of these heavy weights into the organic market will signal the demise of organic standards, both in terms of the USDA organic guidelines and with the outsourcing of organic agriculture and food production to other countries that don't have adequate environmental and human rights regulatory oversight.

While these concerns are quite real, we at LocalHarvest think that the core issue, and one that is sometimes lost in the discussion, is the definition of "organic." It is unfortunate that the organic movement, which started as a reaction against the industrialization of agriculture, and grew mostly due to the desire by consumers to support more "wholesome" old-fashioned farming, became known for and branded by a singular and simplistic avoidance of sythentic chemicals, in the form of fertilizers and pesticides. It is this singularity that has made the organic movement so likely to be, and, in fact, so easily co-opted by big business interests, which too easily ignore the larger picture that pesticide-free farming practices are merely a part of. Most "organic food" in the market now is grown by factory farms which in many cases use practices just as insidious as those of their "chemical" competitors. What is needed is the willingness to embrace and support the earlier vision of "organic" - not simply as signaling the absence of pesticides and chemicals, but rather as the more integrative and holistic concept of sustainability.

Some of LocalHarvest's member farms now feel that "organic" has lost much of its meaning, and are now choosing not to certify their farms as such. Also, organic certification has gotten more expensive and bureaucratic, and many small farms cannot afford it anymore. Small farms that sell less than $5,000 of organic produce per year are now allowed to sell their produce as "organic exempt", but for some small farms that exceed this threshold, the effort and expense of organic certification, coupled with the dilution of the "true meaning" of the term, as seen by many of the small farms that created the movement, make it less appealing for them to become certified.

Ideally, buying local from farms you know and trust, coupled by consumer awareness, would reduce the need for certification, but for many, the time and effort required for this is out of reach, which makes certification necessary. Alternatives to "Organic" such as "Certified Naturally Grown" are now becoming popular. Buying locally grown whenever possible and knowing your local farms is the next step in the evolution of what was originally called "organic". Now that the term also encompasses many things that the original creators of it never intended, many purists are going back to the roots, by promoting things like CSA subscriptions, humane treatment of animals, and the importance of buying local.

Organic farming practices, and consumer commitment to buying organic, should indicate a dedicated willingness to produce food humanely and ethically, both with the health of our bodies, environments, and future generations in mind. When we commit ourselves and our New Year to "organic," we should also make a commitment to sustainability in our food choices, our environmental impact, and our relationships. In addition to buying organic, cultivating relationships with our small, local farmers, getting to know them and their farming practices, supporting CSAs, as well as farmers' markets, and buying local whenever possible, are just a few ideas for "going organic" in the New Year.




8. Is the FDA's Cloning Proposal Ready for Prime Time?



The Critical Issue Report was authored by Jim Riddle, Organic Outreach Coordinator at University of Minnesota.



The following excerpt from the Executive Summary explains the premise of The Organic Center report in response to the Food and Drug Administration's draft risk assessment on meat and milk from cloned animals:



"On December 28, 2006, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft risk assessment, a risk management plan, and guidance to industry on meat and milk from cloned animals. A Federal Register notice was issued on January 3, 2007, in which the FDA requested comments on all three documents."


"The documents address the risks associated with somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the most common method used to create cloned animals, and do not address other cloning technologies or risks associated with genetically engineered animals. The document acknowledges that there are ethical, cultural, and religious issues raised by animal cloning. The agency offers to participate in discussions of these issues “…in other forums,” but makes clear such considerations are not germane to its conclusions regarding the safety and animal health impacts of animal cloning."


"Throughout the FDA risk assessments, the health risks to surrogate mothers used in the cloning process are compared to the risks associated with other “Assisted Reproductive Technologies” (ARTs), such as artificial insemination, embryo transfers and splitting, and in vitro fertilization."


"The Organic Center has issued this Critical Issue Report to provide background on the FDA’s proposal and the cloning process so that readers can better



*What the FDA found in its scientific assessment and is proposing;


*The impacts of cloning on animal health and reproduction;


*Potential impacts of animal cloning on food quality and safety; and


*The status of cloned animals, their progeny and products in organic agriculture.



Dr. Charles Benbrook, Chief Scientist for The Organic Center, explained, "We did this report to help individuals and groups preparing comments to the FDA on the cloning proposal better understand what the FDA has proposed, what they found in the risk assessment, and impacts on consumers and organic livestock producers."





Steve Diver.


9. Look what Massachusetts is doing for their local markets!!
January 23, 2007
Contact: Mark Lattanzi, Campaign Director, M-Thurs 8:30-5:30, Fri. 8:30-12:30.
413-665-7100 or [log in to unmask]
Market research documents success of ‘Local Hero’ campaign
Researcher cites “stunningly high” level of awareness
(South Deerfield, MA) Independent market research carried out by Greenberg, Quinlan and Rosner of Washington, DC in June, 2006 revealed that Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s (CISA) ‘Local Hero’ brand enjoys a “stunningly high” level of awareness among local consumers – 82% of residents in Franklin and Hampshire Counties recognize the brand. Additionally,

“This research was done at a time when I would have expected lower results,” says Mark Lattanzi, Campaign Director. “June is the time when we are farthest away from the last Local Hero ads, which end in October. Local Hero ads for the summer had barely begun when this research was conducted. These results show me that Local Hero has become a year-round brand with deep roots and staying power.”

An interesting indicator of just how deeply local consumers have embraced Local Hero is the ubiquitous yellow Local Hero bumper sticker. “Not a day goes by that I don't see a few of those,” says Lattanzi. “And in the survey, bumper stickers were the most recalled aspect of Local Hero promotions.” With 78% of consumers recalling them, the bumper stickers are a familiar and effective reminder to buy locally grown. “I’ve seen them on all kinds of cars, from a Prius to a Hummer, a potato truck to a rusted out Volvo,” says Lattanzi.

The research emphasized that it is essential to make sure consumers see the Local Hero brand wherever locally grown foods are sold. “It’s been shown that if consumers see the brand, more of them will buy the locally grown food,” says Lattanzi. “The best way for local farmers, grocery stores and restaurants to increase their sales of locally grown foods is to use the Local Hero stickers and price cards that we provide our members.”

Enrollment now open for 2007 Local Hero Campaign

CISA’s Local Hero program is entering its 9th season in 2007 – and the Local Hero brand continues to offer farmers, grocers, chefs and others the opportunity to use this popular and respected brand. Enrollment for the 2007 season has begun.

Local Hero membership is available to farms, farmers markets, restaurants, grocery stores, institutions and schools and other local businesses that buy or sell locally grown farm products. Members are welcome from Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden Counties as well as eastern Berkshire and western Worcester Counties.  To receive an enrollment packet, call the CISA office at 413-665-7100 and ask for Jennifer. Send the application back postmarked by January 31 to receive an early bird discount.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), a non-profit in South Deerfield, MA,  links farmers and communities to promote and strengthen agriculture in ways that enhance the economy, rural character, environmental quality, and social well-being of western Massachusetts.

10. Goodness Greeness - New Partnership Benefits Beginning Farmers

by Mercedee Renz

Goodness Greeness and the CSA Learning Center at Angelic Organics have recently joined resources to connect local growers with the Midwest’s thriving organic market.

CALEDONIA…Known for effectively connecting regional farmers in Illinois and Wisconsin with agricultural and business skills, the CSA Learning Center at Angelic Organics has recently partnered with the Midwest’s leading supplier of organic produce, Goodness Greeness. Lead by experienced farmers from the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), the Learning Center has been hosting informative courses intended to foster more interest and participation in sustainable farming, including organic and Biodynamic methods. With the help of Goodness Greeness and their fifteen years of experience sourcing, storing, packing, and delivering such perishable goods, the Learning Center hopes to offer practical, original tools for farmers entering the growing local, organic marketplace.

“It is very exciting for our farmer network to be partnering with Goodness Greeness,” says Parker Forsell, Farmer Development Coordinator for the CSA Learning Center at Angelic Organics, “New partnerships between growers, suppliers, and farmer training networks are going to be key components of a sustainable local food system.”

“The CSA Learning Center’s approach to training new farmers is a model that is working around the country. To support our mission of buying more food from local farmers, it’s important that we partner with organizations like the Learning Center,” says Warren King, General Manager of Goodness Greeness.

The CSA Learning Center’s farmer training program is based in Caledonia, Illinois, at Angelic Organics Farm, home of the renowned Farmer John of The Real Dirt On Farmer John. Training includes the Stateline Farm Beginnings® business planning course, field day workshops and exchanges, internships, employment, and mentoring. Farm Beginnings® was originally developed by the Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project. More information about the CSA Learning Center’s farmer training program is available at

Goodness Greeness is the Midwest’s leading supplier of fresh, organic food and the largest privately held organic distributor in the country. Founded in 1991 by CEO Robert Scaman and his brothers, Rodney and Rick, Goodness Greeness employs over 75 people at their warehouse in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The company directly supplies over 300 stores that include the region’s largest supermarkets and independent retailers. Goodness Greeness is committed to supplying its customers with the finest organic food from around the world, while at the same time furthering its purchases from the Midwest’s small-scale organic farmers. Goodness Greeness has developed a private label brand of local organic food that is distributed to Midwest area retailers. 

Mercedee Renz
(773)-224-4411 x 230


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