What's Happening March 15- March 22, 2007

Michigan Organic Farmer Listserve-News for and by YOU

Visit our new WEB site to see where your next farm tour or open house
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1. 2007 Michigan Organic Conference-Something for Everyone!

2. Got Raw Milk? Be Very Quiet

3. Area: schools phasing out fat in favor of more fiber, fruits and

4.  Rodale Press (Kutztown, PA) & Penn State Host Survey for farmers on
Weed management

5. Unfavorable Ethanol News Lowers U.S. Corn Prices

6. Bean On Bean Acres More Profitable For Some?

Job Openings



8. Position Available: Seasonal Assistant Farm Manager at the Michigan
State University Student Organic Farm

9. Allen Neighborhood Center  517/367-2468, ext. 2003 VISTA (Volunteers
in Service to America) Positions



10. Soil Quality and Composting to Enhance Crop Production March 24 at


11. Michigan Farmers' Market Association 

Membership Kick-Off and Market-Style Resource Fair, April 20, 10-2 pm
East Lansing, MI


12.    John Jeavons, known across the world for his GROW BIOINTENSIVE(r)

March 30-31, Detroit, MI


13.    Video IP Conference Opportunity on Insect and Disease Management
for Organic Vegetables, Thursday April 19, 6:00 to 8:30-East Lansing and
Ithaca, MI




1. 2007 Michigan Organic Conference-Something for Everyone!

Dear Michigan Organic Farmers,

I want to thank all of you for contributing to the first (I hope annual)
Taste of Michigan event at the 2007 Michigan Organic Conference. The
event took place at the close of the conference and offered some very
yummy foods, drinks and a chance for everyone to gather before going


The food and drink were very much appreciated by all, not only because
it was free but it was from Michigan, local, organic and often from
someone they knew!

The menu consisted of:

Almar's  Apple cider (sweet and hard)

Various Michigan wines

Whetham's (coop) Soybean hummus

Hampshire Farm's Spelt muffins

Simmons' Farm Cornbread plain and blueberry muffins

Food for Thought Jams and Salsas

AppleSchram apple slices

The Giving Tree and Student Organic Farm Carrots

Steve-N-Sons Grassfield cheeses


Thank you all for your hard work to grow and prepare these delicious
foods. I look forward to next year's Taste of Michigan!




Vicki Morrone


2. Got Raw Milk? Be Very Quiet

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2007 By WENDY COLE/CHICAGO <javascript:void(0)>  

Time Magazine


Richard Hebron, 41, was driving along an anonymous stretch of highway
near Ann Arbor, Mich., last October when state cops pulled him over,
ordered him to put his hands on the hood of his mud-splattered truck and
seized its contents: 453 gal. of milk. 

Yes, milk. Raw, unpasteurized milk. To supply a small but growing market
among health-conscious city and suburban dwellers for milk taken
straight from the udder, Hebron was dealing the stuff on behalf of a
farming cooperative he runs in southwestern Michigan. An undercover
agricultural investigator had infiltrated the co-op as part of a sting
operation that resulted in the seizure of $7,000 worth of fresh-food
items, including 35 lbs. of raw butter, 29 qt. of cream and all those
gallons of the suspicious white liquid. Although Hebron's home office
was searched and his computer seized, no charges have been filed. "When
they tested the milk, they couldn't find any problems with it," says
Hebron. "It seems like they're just looking for some way to shut us

People have been drinking raw milk for a long time, of course - at least
since sheep and goats were domesticated in the 8th or 9th century B.C.
Raw milk is rich in protein and fat, and milk from cows became a staple
of the American diet in colonial times. When milk leaves the animal,
however, it can also contain any number of pathogens, which is why most
doctors consider pasteurization - subjecting milk to a short burst of
heat followed by rapid cooling - one of the great public-health success
stories of the 20th century. By eliminating most of the pathogens that
cause disease, including E. coli, salmonella and listeria, they say,
pasteurization has helped lower infectious-disease rates in the U.S.
more than 90% over the past century. 

Raw-milk enthusiasts have a different perspective. They insist that
along with the bad pathogens, heat-treating milk destroys beneficial
bacteria, proteins and enzymes that aid in digestion. Some people with a
history of digestive-tract problems, such as Crohn's disease, swear by
the curative powers of unpasteurized milk. Others praise its nutritional
value and its ability to strengthen the immune system. "I have seen so
many of my patients recover their health with raw milk that I perceive
this as one of the most profoundly healthy foods you can consume," says
Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician and author who rails
against the medical establishment on his website, 

You might think raw milk would be a tough sell after the Taco Bell and
bagged-spinach E. coli scares. After all, even the healthiest grass-fed
cows tromp around in mud and fecal matter and carry all manner of
bacteria with them into the milking parlor. Between 1990 and 2004, U.S.
health authorities traced 168 disease outbreaks to dairy products;
nearly a third were linked to unpasteurized items, according to the
nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. But in fact, demand
for raw milk seems to be rising faster than cream in an unhomogenized
gallon jug. Hebron's dairy co-op has no shortage of customers willing to
pay a premium for milk that hasn't been processed. A California dairy
producer estimates that 100,000 Californians drink raw milk every week. 

All of which has created a simmering problem for health officials. While
the U.S. has no laws against gulping milk straight from cows, the
government's stance on controlling the sale of raw milk is far murkier.
The Food and Drug Administration, which recently determined that it's
safe to drink the milk of cloned cows, takes a tougher stand on
unprocessed milk. It banned interstate sales of raw milk 20 years ago
but left it up to individual states to decide what to do about commerce
within their borders. The result is a hodgepodge of conflicting rules
and loopholes big enough to drive a milk truck through. While 23 states,
including Michigan, officially prohibit raw-milk sales for human
consumption, the rest allow money to exchange hands under certain
conditions. In California, raw dairy products are available in grocery
stores, while Illinois consumers can buy them directly from farms if
they bring their own containers. An increasingly popular arrangement
designed to circumvent state restrictions is a so-called herd-sharing
program, like Hebron's, which requires members to, in effect, lease a
portion of a cow - for $20 a year, in his case - and sign an agreement
opposing "all governmental standards for food, preparation, storage and
safety." The $6.25-per-gal. charge is technically not a sale but
compensation to cover board and transport costs. 

Some raw advocates believe it's the emergence of these cow-sharing
schemes in the past few years that has prompted state agriculture
officials to crack down. Columbus, Ohio, attorney David G. Cox says he
has represented six raw-dairy producers over the past year for alleged
illegal sales, some of whom have been in business for decades without
incident. "There seems to be an orchestrated effort to dry up the
supply," he says. "I suspect that conventional dairy producers are
concerned that if [raw milk] were widely available and people got sick,
all milk would get a bad name and the whole industry would suffer." 

What raw milk fans most resent is stepped-up efforts to crack down on a
personal choice that wasn't doing anyone else any harm. "There are
65,000 child-porn websites," asks indignant co-op member Nancy Sanders,
a pediatric nurse and mother of five from Des Plaines, Ill. "Why doesn't
the government go after those?" 

Meanwhile, farmer Hebron says he won't be spooked by Michigan
authorities. Back in business a week after his goods were seized, he's
become a cause celebre of the raw movement. After an Ann Arbor retailer
he worked with was served a cease-and-desist order, a co-op member
offered her nearby home as a new pickup site. Meanwhile, some of
Hebron's clients in Michigan and Illinois have been flooding the fax
machines of state agriculture officials to protest the treatment of the
mild-mannered dairyman. In Feburary, the Amish farmer who supplies
Hebron's co-op with raw milk received a warning letter from the FDA
about potential interstate commerce violations. Hebron met with federal
officials in Detroit on March 6th to defend the legality of herd-sharing
arrangements, and is adamant about continuing his milk runs. 

Recently, Hebron parked his truck in front of a North Side Chicago
health-food store and began carrying crates filled with brown eggs and
pasture-raised beef and pork into the shop for co-op members. He had to
distribute the milk, however, out of the back of his truck - a rule the
store's owner, Paula Campanio, reluctantly imposed after the raid. "I'm
trying to be discreet," she says. "When I see a police car go by, I'm
convinced they're coming for me." Demand from her customers for the milk
is strong enough that she's willing to take the risk, but she's hoping
that keeping the stuff out of her premises will make her a tad less
culpable. Got raw milk? Shhhhh.

3. Area: schools phasing out fat in favor of more fiber, fruits and



Kirk Pinho

 March 21, 2007 - 

Having students in public school districts eat healthy during the course
of the school day is a top priority for local school district food
service departments. In an effort to provide students nutritious foods,
officials in some districts, including Huron Valley, say that their
programs actually exceed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

In 2004, President George W. Bush mandated that all school districts
formulate wellness policies. In local school districts, committees have
been working to draft - and in some cases, already have implemented -
the policies, which involve foods available to students.

"This Wellness Committee is currently looking at all vending in the
district," said Joan Steele, director of food services for the Huron
Valley Schools.

The Oakland Intermediate School District (OISD) offers "a myriad" of
services to local districts' food service programs, according to Mike
Rangos, director of regional services for the OISD.

Mary Claya, an OISD certified trainer in serve-safe essentials, is
available to advise school districts.

"She (advises) districts throughout the county," Rangos said. "She
teaches a myriad of courses in school food service basics, sanitation
and food safety, principles of food preparation, and a number of other

The only charge to the districts is that of a "very minimal"
reimbursement for materials, according to Rangos.

In addition, Claya provides menu consultation, marketing techniques on
how to provide good nutrition to students, and how to get students to
choose healthy food offerings.

Claya is also the point-person for the countywide purchasing consortium
which allows districts to jointly purchase food products at a reduced

According to Erik Peterson, director of public awareness at the Child
Nutrition and Policy Center for the School Nutrition Association in
Washington D.C., the federal government requires that over the course of
a school week, menus must average 30 percent of calories (which includes
sugars) from fat or less, and 10 percent or less from saturated fat.

"(The guidelines) also establish the standard for school lunches to
provide one-third of the recommended daily allowances of protein,
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories," Peterson said. "The
30 percent and 10 percent guidelines are averaged over the course of one
week, so over five lunches."

Steele said Huron Valley doesn't have a nutritionist on staff. However,
she has 25 years of training in food service management which helps the
district provide nutritional options for students.

State-mandated nutrition reviews are required, and the district just
completed one, according to Steele.

"We send our menus to be analyzed and broken down by nutrients, and see
if we have too much sodium or too much fat, for example."

Efforts recently under taken in Huron Valley provide "nutrition in
disguise," Steele said. For example, lots of whole grain foods which
don't necessarily taste like whole grains are served to students.

The Huron Valley district is currently in the middle of a study and will
eventually set guidelines and recommendations for foods sold through
vending machines, school stores and fundraisers, according to Steele.

This school year, the district has provided more nutritional offerings
for students. Now, all of the a la carte items for school lunches are
under 14 grams of fat.

"We have no pop, no Hostess, no Little Debbie's in the food service
program," Steele said. "Our beverages are bottled water, 100-percent
juice, and 100-percent fruit slushes. That's what I mean by kind of
'nutrition in disguise.'"

Steele said the Huron Valley district was also the first in Oakland
County to rid its buildings of pop during the school day.

The OISD provides Huron Valley with specialized services related to
developing special menus for students who have food allergies or
physical disabilities, as well as "general analyzing to make sure we are
up to snuff."

For high school students, the district offers more choices in terms of
sandwiches, salads, and vegetarian selections, according to Steele. At
the elementary level, three daily options - including one vegetarian
option - are offered at lunch.

"Our objective is the same (for all three educational levels)," Steele
said. "(It is) to offer nutritious choices."

The district has been the recipient of USDA fresh fruits and vegetables
grants and this year, thanks to $171,000 awarded by the federal
government, Lakeland High School students can eat fresh fruits and
vegetables during third period on the federal government's tab.

Robert Brady, director of food services for the Waterford School
District, said the OISD gives the district nutritional advice. The
district doesn't have a bona fide nutritionist on staff. However, a
combined 40 years of experience among administrative staff members

The food service directors of all 28 school districts meet on a regular
basis through the OISD.

"We share input and information there," Brady said. "Also, as you know,
the real resource these days is the Internet. There's so much good
information regarding nutrition, and it's so readily-available. It's a
big help."

Annual internal audits of the Waterford food program are conducted, and
the state of Michigan performs food service reviews every few years,
according to Brady.

Child nutrition guidelines are "pretty consistent" from kindergarten
through the 12th-grade. However, Brady said as students move up into
middle school and high school, portion sizes - especially in terms of
protein - increase substantially. Carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables,
and dairy components remain fairly stable through all three levels.

Last year, the Waterford district's food service department put together
its wellness committee and the Board of Education approved goals.

"That's helping us to keep our eye on goals that we want to accomplish,
in terms of lowering fat, increasing the amounts of fruits and
vegetables that we serve, and also providing time for physical education
and recreation during the day for the kids, as well," Brady said.

The district is currently in the process of eliminating all trans fats
from food offerings. It's working with suppliers and hopes to have trans
fat phased out by August, according to Brady. In addition, by that time
the district also hopes to have menu nutritional information and
ingredient content posted on the district's web site.

"Food allergies are such a challenge for parents and students, so we are
really hopeful that that's going to help them to participate in the
program, and also know what's going on in the kitchens," Brady said.

Waterford Schools is also analyzing its snack food mixture, and where
appropriate, healthier substitutions such as granola bars and popcorn
can be made. Also, the district is now serving turkey hot dogs instead
of regular hot dogs, and the chicken nuggets are baked instead of fried
and have a higher proportion of white meat, which is lower in fat.

It's also becoming apparent that parents are encouraging their kids eat
healthier, as evidenced by the increase in sales of salads and fresh
fruits, according to Brady.

"Eating habits start at home, and when we see that, we know there are
good things going on there," he said.

Lori Adkins, the nutrition supervisor and food service program director
for West Bloomfield Schools, said the district offers mostly waters and
juices as beverages, but there are some snack machines available after
regular school hours.

"(The machines) have a variety of things based on our wellness policy,"
she said. "It has a healthy mix of different kinds of snacks."

Calling the OISD "an excellent resource" for the food service
department, Adkins said the intermediate school district helps the
department with purchasing by heading up the cooperative program for
commodity and non-commodity food purchases. In addition, it also filters
information from the School Nutrition Association and the federal and
state government down to district staff, according to Adkins.

By state law, Adkins said, the district's food service program is
reviewed every five years by the Michigan Department of Education, with
the next review coming during the next school year. In addition, on site
reviews are also performed.

According to Adkins, the district's food program follows what is
required by the USDA.

From the elementary through high school levels, the number of calories
increases with each educational tier. For elementary school buildings,
the calorie count is about 650 calories per meal; for middle school
students, that figure is "in the 700s," Adkins said; and in high school,
it hovers between the high 700s and low 800s.

"Of course, it's a little bit different for a 17-year-old than it would
be for a 7-year-old," she said.

Many changes involving nutrition have been taking place in the district.
The district is taking an "eagle eye" look at the a la carte items it
offers and has removed anything that had more than 300 calories per
serving. The food service department is also going with a lot of baked
snacks and promoting fresh fruit. Whole grain items are also being
promoted, and next year the district is switching to a chicken patty
that has whole grain breading.

"I think the trend is more fiber, more whole grain, and offering fresh
fruits and vegetables," Adkins said.

The district also stopped serving pop a few years ago. The only
beverages served are juices and teas out of the fountain machines, and
machines in the cafeteria have been switched over to sports drinks,
low-calorie beverages, and water.

Vendors for the West Bloomfield School District have been "very
proactive," Adkins said.

"I know Coke and Pepsi have introduced smaller packaging sizes for their
products," she said. "They backed a lot of their product offerings down
to a 12-ounce product size, which is wonderful, and our snack vending
(company) has done a very proactive job."

Kathy Yesh, food services director for the Walled Lake Consolidated
School District, has worked in the district for 25 years, and her
background is in dietetics and nutrition.

Student evaluations are used to gauge compatibility with the district's
market, especially for new items.

"Our own goals are increasing fiber, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and
reducing fat," Yesh said. "It's been a thing in our district for 10
years or more to get kids eating healthier. As new things become
available, or new trends become available, we try to incorporate those
into our program."

Like other districts, Walled Lake is attempting to maintain a core menu
of foods which kids enjoy, but making the offerings as healthy as
possible. The district is using turkey pepperoni and skim milk
mozzarella cheese on the pizzas, and serves a reduced-fat chicken nugget
with whole wheat breading. In addition, organic milk is offered.

"The a la carte items that we sell, as well as the snack items that we
put in the vending machines, meet the guidelines established by Michigan
Action for Healthy Kids," Yesh said.

It appears vendors are adhering to the district's focus on healthier

"When we were in the change-over period, the vendors were cooperative,
and they marked the healthier items at a lower price to kind of
encourage the kids, which I do with our a la carte program, also," Yesh

Keith Elementary School was recently awarded the 2007 School of
Outstanding Achievement for healthy activities, and encompassing all
aspects of creating a healthy school environment, such as nutrition,
physical activity, and healthy fund raising through the Count Your Steps

"We always have healthy choices available," said Keith Elementary
Principal Suzanne Cowles.


Kirk Pinho is a staff writer for the Spinal Column Newsweekly




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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