8. Economics of Low-input Field Crop Systems
Oct 1, 2008 at Kellogg Biological Station, near Battle Creek

 JOIN US OCTOBER 1st at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station in Southwest Michigan for a field tour and talks on the economics and adoption potential of Energy-saving Cover Crops, Integrated Fertilizer Use and No-Till Field Crops. 

The field day will start at 8:30 a.m. on Wed, Oct 1st, 2008. 
We will meet at the KBS Dairy Conference room (see map below) for a tour of highlights and economic returns from alternative and conventional management of corn, soybean and wheat. In 1988 a long-term field crop trial was initiated, see This October 1st is an opportunity to hear the latest. Results of a recent survey of Michigan farmers will be reported, and a farmer panel will discuss economics and adoption potential.
8:45 - 9:45 a.m.    Field Tour and Overview by Phil Robertson, Agroecologist and Lead Investigator, Long-term Ecological Research-Row Crops. The latest on a 20 year comparison of organic, low input and conventional corn-soybean-wheat, alfalfa and biofuels.
9:45 - 10:00 a.m.        Valuing Biocontrol Services for Michigan farmers by Doug Landis, Entomologist

10:00 - 10:45 a.m.      Report Card by Scott Swinton, Agricultural Economist, on farmer survey and assessment of alternative practices, from cover crops to no-till corn, soybean and wheat. 

10:45 - 12:30        Farmer Panel and Discussion Moderated by Sieg Snapp, Cropping Systems and Soil Ecologist. 

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.        Lunch and Updates re Biofuels Initative, Pasture Dairy and Organic Field Crops Research.
If you are planning to come, contact Sieg Snapp ([log in to unmask]) or call 517-282-5644. Organic lunch provided for all who sign up before Sept 19.
Meet at the KBS DAIRY CONFERENCE Room  Oct 1st 8:30am
10461 North 40th Street, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

9. Gearing up to increase production: An equipment day for vegetable farmers
Vicki Morrone, MSU CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food 
Mark your calendars: on October 2 there will be an Equipment Day for vegetable farmers featuring demonstrations that may help streamline many steps of small-scale vegetable production including:
* Soil management 
* Irrigating
* Mulching 
* Weeding
* Transplanting 
* Cooling for transport
* Bed formation
* FSA and Credit Union representatives 
The event will take place October 1 from 9:00AM to 3:00PM at the Southwest Michigan Research Center (SWMREC), 1791 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor, Michigan, 49022. 
Cost is $25 per person before September 22 and $30 per person after this date. A box lunch is included. 
Trade booths are available for $50 until September 12 and $75 after this date, including walk-ins. Price includes registrations for two people, a table and two chairs.
For flyer and to register online and pay by check or credit card at or by mail and send payment to 303 Natural Resources, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824. 
Please make checks payable to Michigan State University. 

Questions contact: Vicki Morrone, (517) 353-3542. This program is sponsored by the USDA Farm Service Agency and the CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University.

10. Register Now for the Michigan Food & Farming Systems 10th Anniversary Benefit Reception on September 18, 2008 and Embrace Local Food and Michigan Farmers

East Lansing, Mich. - To celebrate and reflect upon the past decade of efforts and successes in local food systems, family farms and sustainable agriculture, Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) invites you to its 10th Anniversary Benefit Reception on September 18, 2008 at 6 p.m. at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing.

There is still time to register for this event, which will take place on the fourth annual "Buy Fresh, Buy Local - Select Michigan Day" to honor MIFFS members, sponsors, partners and supporters and to celebrate Michigan's rich agricultural heritage and the local bounty of the autumn harvest.  

This celebration will feature heavy hors d'oeuvres made with Michigan-grown and produced foods from local farms, prepared by Morton's Catering, paired with local beers and wines from the Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville and Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay.  Local musician, Chris Dorman, will play as everyone enjoys good food, networks and explores the wonderful exhibits of the Museum.

Two leaders in local food systems who have been instrumental in MIFFS' foundation, programs and successes will speak and share their vision for good food in Michigan's future.  

Oran Hesterman is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Food Foundation in Ann Arbor, which seeks to work with historically-excluded urban communities to design a food system that upholds the fundamental right to healthy, fresh and sustainably-grown food.  Oran is a long-time friend and supporter of MIFFS and will be the keynote speaker to talk about the growing movement toward good food and how we, as individuals, groups and organizations, can continue to support that growth.  

John Fisk, Executive Director of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, was one of MIFFS' founding members and has served many roles within the organization, including Council President, program consultant and 10-year member.  The Wallace Center is the home of the National Good Food Network, which is working to develop regional "value chains" to move more good food from farm to table at the regional level and improve good food access in all communities throughout the nation.  John will reflect upon MIFFS' roles in the past, present and future of sustainable agriculture and food systems in our state.  

In addition, Howard Straub, MIFFS Council President, and Elaine Brown, MIFFS Executive Director, will review and relive the organization's labors, efforts and accomplishments and recognize those who helped MIFFS get to where it is today - a recognized leader and resource in food systems.  

"MIFFS has survived and thrived through the past 10 years because of everyone who has supported us and worked together with us to achieve our mission of serving Michigan family farms," said Brown.  This event celebrates that mission, and everyone involved in it, by embracing all things local and Michigan.

Visit to learn more about the event, register online now or get your invitation.  Be sure to RSVP by Tuesday, September 9 to reserve your spot!  Click here to register now!

Tickets are $100 per person, and all proceeds go toward building MIFFS' programs and future sustainability and to ensure that MIFFS will be doing good works for another 10 years.  Donations and sponsorships are tax-deductible, so contact the MIFFS office at (517) 432-0712 to learn how you can be a sponsor for this event.

Please contact MIFFS at (517) 432-0712, or [log in to unmask] to learn more about this event or visit

Founded in 1998, MIFFS is a statewide membership organization (501c3) whose purpose is to promote diverse efforts that foster and sustain food and farming systems that improve economic, ecological and social well-being.  MIFFS has been effective at establishing successful partnerships among producers, markets and institutions that have created more profitable, environmentally friendly food systems in Michigan.     

The organization's vision is based on the premise that agricultural productivity, environmental stewardship and profitability reinforce each other for the benefit of Michigan's rural and urban communities.  To learn more, please visit or call (517) 432-0712.

Some of MIFFS' projects and success include:
* Promoting the Multicultural Farmers Program, which has reached nearly 300 limited resource farmers, helping 60% of them to improve their farming operation, economic viability and resource connections. 
* Developing the Michigan Farmers Market Association, with 148 members, which helps farmers markets thrive as marketplaces for local food and farm products. 
* Initiating two kitchen incubators in Hart and Bad Axe, which have helped nearly 60 agripreneurs develop new products. 
* Coordinating the Hoophouse Program to extend Michigan's growing season with Michigan State University (MSU). 
* Establishing the Food & Agri Innovation Center, which grew into the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources and has served 1,400 customers and aided 89 new ventures. 
* Co-hosting the "Buy Fresh, Buy Local - Select Michigan Day" farmers markets, which bring 50 vendors and thousands of attendees to the Capitol lawn to purchase Michigan products. 
* Coordinating the Meet the Buyers event, where 60 Michigan growers met with buyers to initiate new values-based supply chains. 
* Facilitating discussions about state policy and informing legislative decisions on family farms, sustainable agriculture and local food. 
* Sponsoring conferences, workshops and seminars that have served more than 4,000 participants over the past ten years. 

Emily (Buckham) Beutel
Communications Specialist
Michigan Food & Farming Systems - MIFFS
Bringing Farmers and Communities Together
416 Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
Ph: (517) 432-0712
Fax: (517) 353-7961

Job Opportunities
11. National Service AmeriCorps*VISTA Positions
At Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, Michigan
Make a difference in your community through community & school gardening and healthy local food systems
Growing Hope is currently recruiting applicants for up to 6 VISTA positions for 12-month terms of service, to begin in November 2008 and run through November 2009.  Growing Hope is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people improve their lives and communities through gardening and healthy local food systems. Through a community capacity-building approach, we work in partnership with low-income schools, community groups, and agencies to help people gain the skills, resources, and support needed to develop and sustain school & community gardens and garden-based programming, and facilitate access to healthy food through a farmer's market and other initiatives.  VISTA members in 2008-2009 have the opportunity to be part of an exciting time, as we work to develop a property as a demonstration & training center for urban food production, gardens, and green building.
All VISTA members will help to strengthen food security, enhance local environments, improve health & nutrition, and provide educational opportunities to low-income community members throughout Washtenaw County through different roles in the organization. VISTA members will work to increase Growing Hope's organizational capacity by developing program models, partnerships, training, and resources that support school & community gardening.   Each VISTA member will focus in one of the areas below, although some responsibilities/projects may be shared and adjusted based on the strengths and interests of each member.
Currently, we are recruiting VISTA members for the following areas of focus: Farmers Market Manager, Fundraising/Capital Campaign/Grant Writing and Marketing/Outreach, Community Organizing, Organic Farm Manager.  Please specify which position or positions you wish to be considered for, based on the specific job descriptions that follow, citing both what skills you would bring to the entire Growing Hope team, and specific qualifications for each position you wish to be considered for.  While we outline specific position descriptions below, we may not fill all positions and/or may combine positions. 
Qualified candidates for any of our positions will exhibit the following: 
(    Passion for Growing Hope's mission and work.  Dedication to working as a member of and in partnership with diverse communities.
(    Willingness to commit to one full year of full time service to the organization and community
(    Desire and experience in effectively communicating with all types of individuals and groups.
(    Experience or desire to gain knowledge of-and assist in disseminating information about organic gardening, nutrition, sustainability, and community food systems.
(    Desire to encourage local community members to share ideas, talents and resources.
(    Excellent verbal and written communication skills
(    Strong organizational and management skills, including excellent follow-through. 
(    Willingness to know more about and respond to needs of communities and schools.
(    Flexibility to work non-traditional hours, including some evening and weekends as scheduled
(    Desire and ability to work both as part of a team and individually.
(    Experience in coordinating and leading teams.
(    Willingness to see projects through-from developing to implementing to evaluating.
(    Ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously 
(    Comfort in use of computers and technology on a daily basis
(    Willingness to adapt to changing organizational conditions and extremely limited resources.
(    Creativity, flexibility, resourcefulness and positive thinking.
1)    Go to to enter the Americorps online application website.  Click on "find a program" on the left hand bar.  Do a search for Michigan and use the keywords "garden" and you'll find us among the results.  Select the program, show details, and then choose "Apply for the Program."  Complete the online application, and make sure also to complete number 2) below!  (Please note-this online system is currently being upgraded, so the page layout & options may change.  You can still proceed and complete step 2 below before completed Americorps online application.)
2)    Submit a resume and 2-page letter describing your interests and qualifications by September 19, 2008 at the latest. Electronic applications encouraged; please email (as attachments) to Executive Director Amanda Edmonds at [log in to unmask]  If mailing, please send materials to Amanda Edmonds, Growing Hope, PO BOX 980129, Ypsilanti, MI, 48198, or drop off at our office at 32 North Washington, Suite 11, Ypsilanti, MI  48197. After receiving materials and completing online application above, applicants may need to be available for interviews in person or by phone.  Please read on for position descriptions, and specify in your letter which position(s) you are interested in, and how your qualifications match that/those position description(s).
Farmers' Market Manager.  Work to build capacity of a three-year old urban farmers market in Downtown Ypsilanti with a focus on increasing access to healthy food for community members. Working in partnership with the Farmer's Market Community Advisory Board Executive Committee, the market manager will coordinate recruitment of vendors, site preparation, risk management, publicity & outreach, and evaluation.  Beyond general management duties, primary emphasis will be on recruitment of and outreach to low-income community members, including Project FRESH participants, EBT consumers, seniors, and youth.  The Market Manager will also work to build the capacity of volunteers, interns, and others to create a sustainable market.  During non-market season, Market Manager will take leadership in other Growing Hope health & nutrition initiatives.
Responsibilities include:
* Manage all aspects of vendor recruitment, permitting, and site preparation, including weekly on-site vendor management (applications, stall assignments, fee collection, conflict resolution); lead other market day duties including signage, set up, take down, vendor & customer relations, and accounting 
* Build & maintain positive relationships with vendors, customers, local government, and community partners; Build capacity of volunteers to take on multiple aspects of the market 
* Develop partnerships to build the capacity of the market to sustain itself and rely on volunteers 
* Represent the interests of Farmer's Market on community committees, to agencies 
* Create and implement marketing plan, with specific emphasis on outreach to low-income audiences; Coordinate publicity through press releases, bus ads, yard signs, postcards, and flyering; Organize community events relating to the market 
* Aid in recruiting volunteers for set up, clean up, flyering, hosting, helping senior cross the street, special events, et al; supervise on-site volunteers 
* Plan, develop, and carry out evaluation plan, including surveys and other tools; Maintain weekly reports of the market, including tally of customers, gross sales, strengths & changes needed; prepare grant updates/reports as necessary 
* Develop and provide nutrition materials/education both at market and to other Growing Hope programs.  Represent Growing Hope in other health, food security, and related initiatives, especially during non-market season. 
* Assist in securing grants, donations, and sponsorships for long-term market viability 
 Fundraising/Capital Campaign/Grant Writing and Marketing/Outreach (up to two positions).  Working closely with the Executive Director, these VISTA members will focus on fundraising, event planning, marketing, and related administrative tasks, with the focus on building Growing Hope's financial and organizational capacity.  S/he will concentrate on planning fundraising events, representing the organization at community festivals and events, grant research and writing, grant management, donor research, cultivating business sponsorship, creation of marketing materials (newsletter, annual report, etc), and other fundraising. Fund development will be for both general operating funds, program-specific funding, and Growing Hope's capital campaign.  This VISTA member must be extremely well organized, computer savvy, outgoing, customer-oriented and preferably have experience in event planning, fundraising or campaign work, and/or other areas of marketing.    
Responsibilities include:
(      Plan & coordinate fundraising and other special events
(      Research, write, and manage grants
(      Develop marketing materials to aid in fundraising and general outreach 
(      Work with media (write and send press releases) to increase community awareness of gardening, nutrition food systems and Growing Hope.
(      Coordinate fundraising solicitation process and assist in management of donor communications
(      Planning special events (fundraising & others) along with staff & board
(      Create & disseminate marketing & outreach materials, newsletter, and annual report
(      Work with development committee & capital campaign committee
(      Coordinate production & sales of merchandise
(      Respond to inquires about the organization
(      Manage database of donors, funders, et al. 
(      Represent the organization in community settings at special events, fundraising and others
(      Support other administrative & office management systems 
(      Coordinate technology assessment & planning
(      Provide general staff support as needed at events, programs, etc
Community Organizer. This VISTA volunteer will expand community-based garden education, develop organizational models for community & school garden development and partnership, facilitate our training program for community garden organizing, and work heavily with volunteers. This VISTA volunteer needs to be exceptionally skilled at relationship building and follow through, to support developing and new gardens and teams of garden planners. Experience in community organizing and outreach is key. In addition, this position will include fundraising and grant writing to develop resources needed to sustain programming.
Responsibilities include:
(       Work to build awareness of Growing Hope throughout Ypsilanti & Washtenaw County
(       Help to ensure sustainability of community & school gardens by working closely with volunteer leadership at sites throughout Washtenaw County.
(       Coordinate Community Garden Development Institute, including recruitment, program facilitation, and working with new garden teams
(       Establish structure and facilitate function of Community Garden Council
(       Work with organizations and schools who want to develop new gardens
(       Act as a liaison to existing community gardens and garden stewards
(       Assist with volunteer recruitment, training, and management, especially as related to new garden development
(       Assist in raising funds and obtaining other resources for Growing Hope's programs
(       Represent the organization to community groups, schools, other organizations, businesses
(       Offer support to Growing Hope's school & youth garden programs
(       Oversee student groups and interns involved in community organizing, training, & outreach activities
(       Assist in documenting and evaluating programs
Organic Farm & Garden Manager. This VISTA volunteer will work to develop Growing Hope's new urban demonstration farm & garden, including entrepreneurial garden development.  The goal of this position is to both develop the infrastructure of the new site and to set up appropriate tracking, management, and evaluation systems so that the farm can be effectively and efficiently managed by volunteers and used as a community training space.  This VISTA position will also oversee Growing Hope's pilot social enterprise-Hopeful Herbs.  S/he will offer gardening expertise to 20+ partner community & school gardens, including on-site visits and teaching classes.  This person will also inventory and manage Growing Hope's tool & material lending library.  Farm or intensive garden management experience and careful attention to detail a must!
Responsibilities include:
(       Further establish urban farm and hoophouse production areas.  Prioritize and develop appropriate farm & garden infrastructure.  
(       Develop farm & garden documentation, tracking, and management systems.
(       Coordinate Hopeful Herbs social enterprise, including business planning & implementation, production, and market distribution to markets, restaurants, and groceries.
(       Liaison with Growing Hope Center site planning team as garden 
(       Offer garden support to Growing Hope partner gardens, including managing tool & resource lending library.
(       Oversee garden planning and management of Perry Learning Garden and Head Start Seeds of Learning Garden.
(       Represent Growing Hope at area Farmers' Markets, and support local gardeners in selling at market
(       Act as liaison/resource to Roots & Shoots Youth Entrepreneur Program
(       Oversee volunteers and interns at the Growing Hope Center.  
(       Provide tours and on-site presentation for the community, donors, & the public.
(       Explore organic certification for Growing Hope Center.
(       Assist in documenting and evaluating programs 
(    Monthly Stipend of $909.00
(    Medical Insurance
(    Child care assistance
(    Educational ($4,725) or cash award ($1,200) at end of term
(    Training before and during service term; Opportunities to build resume
AmeriCorps*VISTA members serve full-time, for one year with varying work schedules.  VISTA members are not allowed to be in school or have other employment during their term of service.  VISTA members may be eligible for Food Stamps or other forms of public assistance.
More information about Growing Hope is available at  More information about VISTA and other Corporation for National and Community Service programs, see  Additional questions about Growing Hope or these positions, please call us at 734-786-8401 or email Amanda Edmonds at [log in to unmask]  

If you would like to access previous postings to the Mich-Organic listserv you can copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar