*Help MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station Advance

MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station are committed
to using our resources to meet the state's needs. To ensure that our work is
focused on addressing the most pressing issues facing Michigan's
communities, families, farms and other businesses, natural resource
managers, children and youth, we conduct a statewide needs assessment every
five years.

Our current assessment is going on now and involves using new social media
tools to create an interactive website that everyone in Michigan can use to
share their ideas, contribute to discussions and vote on the topics they
believe should be addressed. It's easy to join in. Just visit **. You can click the link titled "How to use this
site" for a brief tutorial, create a user profile and then you'll be ready
to add your ideas. There's also a handy tip sheet with pointers for using
the site.

*Happy Accident Leads to Designer Pumpkins*


Ten years ago Bob Koenders saw two intruders on his farm in Armada, MI. He
would normally be threatened by this but decided to let them live. The
intruders where two wining plants growing on the banks of a drainage ditch.
As weeks went by it became obvious that the intruders weren’t pumpkin
plants, but a cross between pumpkins and winter squash. It was most likely
cause by a cross pollination by bees. The most remarkable part of the plants
where their newly ripened fruit: dark green (like an acorn squash) and
bright orange (like a jack-o-lantern). He started displaying them at his
roadside stand. After a few years he was ready to sell and named them: Bob’s
Designer Pumpkins. Seed sales of Bob’s pumpkins are doing well. He sells
them to nearby farms, and popular farmers markets in the area. To read
entire article visit the vegetable growers news web page **.

*Michigan Cottage Food Operation Bill - HB 5837*


At last week’s meeting Michigan Food Policy Council meeting, Kathy Fedder
reported that the House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously to send the
bill and its companion -- HB 5837 -- to the full House. Congratulations and
thanks to all whom contributed significant time and energy as members of the
Cottage Food Work group.

Bill Description:

HB 5837 was introduced by State Representative Pam Byrnes (D-Chelsea). The
bill would amend the Food Law of 2000 to define a “cottage food operation”
as “a person who produces or packages non-potentially hazardous food in a
kitchen of that person’s primary domestic residence.”

Sale of allowable foods by a cottage food operation would be limited to
homes, farm markets, or roadside stands; municipal farmers markets; county
fairs; and town celebrations, festivals, and events.

The bill would require a cottage food operation to place on the label of any
food it produces or packages a statement that substantially complies with
the following:


To read more on the bill and other bills visit: **

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