What’s New in Michigan Organics

 

1.      Farmer Market Opportunity-Eastern Market in Detroit seeks new farmers

2.      MSU is getting new professor for organic pest management

3.      Farm profits from community supportHome-grown veggie lovers say fresh produce is best

4.      Highlights from Vegetable CAT Alert

5.      MSU New AG Network Vol. 4, No. 2 - May 9, 2007

6.      MSU Field Crop CAT ALERT May 10. 2007 Vol 22. NO 5

7.      The Michigan Farmers Market Association Kicks Off by Welcoming Charter Memberships

8.      Discussing topics dealing with organic crops.

9.      Breaking News on Supplements & Nutrition - North AmericaUSDA highlights farm bill proposals for specialty crops

10.  FAO looks to organics for food security

11.  Bill Bobier and Lana Pollack: Small farmers deserve help

12.  The Economic Impact of B.S.E. on the U.S. Beef Industry: BY NOT TESTING TO FIND

13.  New Report Documents Organic Agriculture in Michigan State University

Breaking News on Supplements & Nutrition - North America

USDA highlights farm bill proposals for specialty crops

14.  Organic could help fight world hunger

15.  Getting Started in Exporting Workshop.  June 14 East Lansing, MI

 

 

1. Farmer Market Opportunity-Eastern Market in Detroit seeks new farmers

 

Would like to personally invite Michigan growers to become a part of the rich tradition that is Eastern Market Detroit.  The Eastern Market is the oldest in Michigan, founded in 1891, and the largest market district in the country.

 

As you may be aware, things are changing, for the better, at the market.   A new management team has assumed operations of the market and lots of exciting things are happening and many more are planned.  Included in all of these changes is the renovation of all existing sheds, a cleaner and safer market, higher standards for products, an advertising campaign, special events and more.  While all these changes are exciting, the most important change is our commitment to offer more locally grown products sold by local growers.

 

We offer both year leases and day rental rates.  If you are interested in “trying” out the market for a week or two, we would be glad to accommodate you.  After the trial period, if you are interested in signing a lease, we will deduct the total day rent that you paid from the total lease price.

 

For more information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at (313) 833-9300.

If you would like an application you can call listed number or email Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Randall Fogelman

Director, Business Development

 

Eastern Market Corporation

2934 Russell Street

Detroit, MI 48207

313.833.9300 telephone

313.833.9309 facsimile

www.detroiteasternmarket.com

[log in to unmask]

 

2. MSU is getting new professor for organic pest management

Dr. Matthew Grieshop has accepted the organic Pest Management position. He will be in the Department of Entomology.  Matthew is currently a post-doc at Washington State University.  It is my understanding that he will arrive October 1, 2007.  I look forward to working with him and others as we engage organic farmers, MSU and others in research and educational activities to build our state’s organic production.

Vicki Morrone

MSU Organic Vegetable and Field Crop Outreach Specialist.

3. Farm profits from community support
Home-grown veggie lovers say fresh produce is best
From Maple Creek Farm, Michigan

May 15, 2007

http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070514/NEWS01/705140303/1002

Before trucking, refrigeration and supermarkets, most food Americans ate was grown or raised in their local communities. Today, a commonly cited statistic states the average food item on your dinner plate traveled 1,300 miles to get there.

Michelle and Danny Lutz are proud to say all the produce grown on their Brockway Township farm is eaten within an 80-mile radius.

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"I'm a big advocate of local food systems," Michelle Lutz said. "I'd like to see them resurrected in Michigan. I think it would be good for our economy and our community."

The Lutzes' 80-acre Maple Creek Farm is the state's largest example of community-supported agriculture, or CSA. Rather than selling crops into the wholesale market, the farm sells its produce directly to consumers by allowing them to buy "shares" for the growing season. Boxes filled with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables are delivered to drop-off points in St. Clair, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County weekly from June to October.

In 1995, the farm's first season, it had 13 shareholders. It now has 750.

There's more evidence of growing interest in CSA. The number of CSA farms in Michigan has increased from eight in 1998 to 64 this season. That includes at least two in St. Clair County - Maple Creek Farm and Wonder Meadows in Emmett Township - and another three in Macomb and Lapeer counties.

Vegging out

Advocates say the biggest advantage of CSA is the fresh food.

"The stuff in the store they have to pick before it's ripe," Michelle Lutz said. "We can ... let it mature on the vine."

Jackie Jablonski of Port Huron has been a member for about five years.

"The vegetables and fruit are just fantastic," she said. "Everything is sweeter, crispier and more flavorful."

Using such a program does sacrifice some convenience. The produce may require more cleaning, and you can't choose which vegetables you want.

"Half the (members) love beets, the other half want to strangle me every time I put it in the box," Michelle Lutz said.

Members pay up front, and there are no refunds. If it's a bad season, the box will be bare.

When Michelle and Danny Lutz bought the farm in 1994, she worked for Spirit Airlines and he was a carpet cleaner. They came up with the idea of selling fresh produce to fellow Detroiters before they knew other farmers were attempting the same thing.

"We tried to design our farm around it," she said. Extra food is sold at farmers markets, but "shareholders are the first priority."

Diverse offerings

The biggest challenge of CSA is providing a steady supply of produce throughout the summer and fall. Rather than planting everything in the spring, it requires constant planting of a variety of crops. Maple Creek Farm fills out its boxes with unusual offerings such as kale, arugula, white icicle radishes and mizuna.

"People who get involved with CSA have to be ready for diversity," Michelle Lutz said.

Not all CSA programs work the same. Most are 30 to 50 members. Some require members to help raise the crops by working a small number of hours.

While organic farming and CSA farming often go hand-in-hand, not all CSA farms are certified. Still, the organic movement may be behind the popularity of CSA.

Another reason CSA is growing is people are still discovering it exists, Michelle Lutz said. The Internet also is playing a role by helping customers and farmers link up.

Advocates say the benefits go beyond fresh tomatoes. It offers a model for small, family farms to stay in business.

The decision to sell a farm to a developer often boils down to the financial pressures of maintaining it. CSA farmers pocket a greater percentage of the revenue from their crops.

Angelic Organics in Caledonia, Ill., is such a success story. Owner John Peterson nearly lost his family farm in the '80s but was able to revive it through CSA and organic farming. It is now one of the largest CSA farms in the country.

It's a fresh take on the question of how to sustain farmland.

Contact Bill Chapin at (810) 989-0741 or [log in to unmask].

 

 

 

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