Help MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station Advance Michigan

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:

If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field