Michigan Organic Listserv

July 8, 2010



Food vs. Fuel: MSU Scientists Say Growing Grain for Food is More Energy Efficient.

Using productive farmland to grow crops for food instead of fuel is more energy efficient, Michigan State University scientists concluded, after poring over 17 years’ worth of data to help settle the food versus fuel debate. "It's 36 percent more efficient to grow grain for food than for fuel," said Ilya Gelfand, an MSU postdoctoral researcher. "The ideal is to grow corn for food, then leave half the leftover stalks and leaves on the field for soil conservation and produce cellulosic ethanol with the other half." Other studies have looked at energy efficiencies for crops over shorter time periods, but this MSU study is the first to consider energy balances of an entire cropping system over many years. The results are published in the April 19 online issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x242784

Model Business Plan for Season Extension with Hoophouses by David Conner

David Conner, Assistant Professor with the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU has developed a model business plan for hoophouses. The goal is to create a model which a prospective farmer may use to create his or her own business plan, which the farmer can use to obtain credit to purchase one and to guide its successful use. The plan is based on results of research and knowledge gleaned from outreach efforts, in collaboration with MSU colleagues including Mike Hamm, Adam Montri, John Biernbaum and Kurt Waldman.

A copy of the plan is available at:  http://www.mottgroup.msu.edu/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=NgeFE8B%2bsCY%3d&tabid=150

Or http://tinyurl.com/39xbbxa

David would appreciate any feedback on the plan, particularly how if it is used by farmers. You may email him at [log in to unmask].

Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships

Annie’s brand products offer a Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship program, which they award $50,000 in scholarships each year to deserving students. Sustainable and organic agriculture is the root of their philosophy. They believe that healthy soils and healthy farms are the foundations for healthy foods, which help make healthy people.

The application period for the 2010/2011 school year has closed. Applications for the 2011/2012 school year will be available in Fall 2010.  

Among the list of 2010/20111 scholarship winners is Brendan Sinclair a Michigan State University received $10,000. Brendan is a junior majoring in Environmental Studies and Agroecology, who also works on the Student Organic Farm. He is a part of the Ecological Food and Farm Stewardship, a student organization that raises awareness about eating sustainably and the importance of eating locally grown organic food in alignment with the seasons.

To see the complete list of recipients and read more about the scholarship program visit http://www.annies.com/sustainable_agriculture_scholarship.

Business Development Workshops

Are you a budding entrepreneurial but would like some more help starting your businesses? The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center at GVSU is offering 58 courses this month alone, and most are FREE. 

Classes range from Pre-Business Research and the Fundamentals of Starting a Business to more in-depth classes in finance, legal issues, customer service, marketing and sales. There’s even a class called Product Development 101: Transforming Good Ideas into Marketable Products.

To view classes offered visit http://www.misbtdc.net/events.aspx.

Regional Extension Reports Available

New articles published in the MSU Vegetable CAT Alert newsletter. See what’s happening in your neck of the woods in terms of the weather and crop report.  Visit the webpage, http://ipmnews.msu.edu/vegetable/ to read the articles. The pdf is also available.

Organic Tree Fruit Certification Fact Sheet Now Available

The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) have just released an “Organic Tree Fruit Certification” fact sheet (available in pdf). The publication is free and available at http://www.mosesorganic.org/attachments/productioninfo/fstreefruitcertification.html.

 Whether you are transitioning, planting a new orchard or renovating and old one, there are similar issues you will need to address in order to grow and market tree fruit.  Organic certification opens up new marketing op­portunities for growers who use organic manage­ment. Consumer demand for tree fruit that is or­ganically certified and locally grown is on the rise. This publication will help you address these issues.

Topics of interest include:

You can also find additional information on organic certification at www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the organic certification tab.

Supreme Court Ruling in Monsanto Case is Victory for Center for Food Safety

The Center for Food Safety today celebrated the United States Supreme Court's decision in Monsanto vs. Geerston Farms, the first genetically modified crop case ever brought before the Supreme Court. Although the High Court decision reverses parts of the lower courts' rulings, the judgment holds that a vacatur bars the planting of Monsanto's Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation occurs. It is a victory for the Center for Food Safety and the Farmers and Consumers it represents. The decision today means that the selling and planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa is illegal. The ban on the crop will remain in place until a full and adequate EIS is prepared by USDA and they officially deregulate the crop.

To read full press release visit: http://www.mosesorganic.org/attachments/news/news6.21gmocourtrule.pdf or check out the announcement tab at www.michiganorganic.msu.edu .

Make Sure All Workers Get the Same Gap Orientation by Phil Tocco, Michigan State University

There are certain things a farm worker needs to know, whether it’s the proper way to wash their hands or where the first aid kit is. This can all be covered using a Good Agriculture Practice Manual (GAPs). In this article you will learn some helpful tips to orientate your farm workers to good health practices at the beginning of the season. To read entire article visit www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the food safety tab.


Local Foods Dinner at Westwind Milling Company

When: July 14, 2010, from 6-8:30 p.m.

Where: Westwind Milling Company, 8572 Silver Lake Road, Linden, MI 48451-8302,

Why: Dinner will feature fresh organic, Michigan grown summer foods. Dinner includes steamed greens with lemon and a fresh caesar salad made with buttercrunch lettuce, Hill's cheese & Al-Mar's bacon. The main course will be a stir fry of baby carrots, baby beets snow peas & dill mixed with our own spelt pasta. Dessert will be strawberry shortcake with spelt biscuits, Calder's whipped cream and strawberry sauce from Ware Farm's strawberries.

After dinner, Dr. Acox will discuss the health benefits of chiropractics, its effects on the nervous system and general well being. Bring a friend, as he will show people how to find and manipulate trigger points for the most health benefit to an individual.

How: Cost is $15 each. Call and send in a check in advance to reserve a spot. Westwind Milling Company, 8572 Silver Lake Road, Linden, MI 48451-8302, (810) 735-9192.

Sprayer Calibration Clinic available at MSU's Ag Expo

When: July 21, 2010, from 8:30-12:30 p.m.

Where: Crop and Soil Science Research, Intersection of Beaumont Rd and Mt. Hope Rd

Why: MSU instructors and industry representatives will be presenting the latest methods on calibrating spraying equipment. The clinic will include a demonstration of how to determine sprayer output, use of electronic controls and how much pesticide needs to be used. Refreshments will be served. Earn 4 recertification credits in core (private or commercial) or in categories 1A or 1B.

How: Cost is $50. To register, visit www.pested.msu.edu or contact Carolyn Lewis at (517)884-0392. Register by July 19 to reserve your seat. For more information, contact John Stone via phone (517)353-5134 or email: [log in to unmask].

The Michigan Garden Plant Tour

When: August 2-13, 2010

Where: 8 sites around Michigan (visit http://planttour.hrt.msu.edu to view map of sites)

Why: Come enjoy the seventh annual Michigan Garden Plant Tour, a coordinated open house of leading young ornamental plant producers and Michigan State University. There are eight participating Tour sites during the 2-week period (visit http://planttour.hrt.msu.edu to view map of sites). Expect to see impressive displays of flowering plant material, including all of the commercial brands of annuals, perennials, and shrubs. Take a day trip to visit a couple of sites, or complete the entire loop for the full tour. Visit http://planttour.hrt.msu.edu to view the map to help locate the sites and plan your route.

How: The Michigan Garden Plant Tour is completely free, but growers would appreciate a call ahead to know you'll be coming. For more information on the Michigan Garden Plant Tour, please contact Tour coordinators Jennifer Sweet (517) 355-5191 x1339 or Erik Runkle (517) 355-5191 x1350.

Detroit Agriculture Network Urban Bus and Bike Tour

When: August 5, 2010

Where: All tours start at the Catherine Ferguson Academy (2750 Selden in Detroit.) Sign in begins at 5pm and the tour starts sharply at 6pm.

Why: This year’s tour will highlight a selection of prosperous, innovative, and visually stunning gardens and farms that are contributing to the new food system through bio‐intensive urban agriculture and commerce between local restaurants and farmer’s markets. The Garden Resource Program Collaborative (GRPC) works to support the emergence of a new, sustainable food system in Detroit through a network of more than 517 backyard gardens, 244 community gardens, and 46 school gardens. The GRPC facilitates resources, education, and training of urban gardeners, farmers, and community leaders through a variety of programming.

The bicycle tour will “weave through gardens located in the Cass Corridor, Woodbridge, and Greater Corktown.” At the end of the tour will be locally-grown food and refreshments created by local chefs! And for those that can’t make it August 5th, there is a Garden Bike Tour on August 15th just south of the border. It’s part of Windsor’s 2nd Annual Summer Harvest Festival. (via Bike Windsor)

How: Register ahead of time by contacting Ashley Atkinson at (313) 237‐8736 or via email at [log in to unmask]. The tour fee is a sliding scale from $1 to $20 which offsets costs and helps “grow Detroit’s agricultural movement.”

Press Release: http://www.m-bike.org/blog/2009/08/02/urban-agriculture-bike-tours

MSU Garden Plant Showcase

When: August 10, 2010, from 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Where: Michigan State University
Why: You’ll hear the latest on new annuals and perennials, see unbiased garden performance of ornamentals, and hear directly from many of the breading companies about their favorite plants.

In addition to the walking through the trial gardens, hear presentations from MSU faculty and staff about top-performing plants. New for 2010: Representatives from many of the major breeding companies, including Ball Horticulture, Benary, Danziger, Dummen, Floranova, Paul Ecke Ranch, Plug Connection, Proven Winners, and Sakata, will present highlights of some of their favorite new introductions and proven performers.  Below is the tentative program.  Stay tuned for registration information.

How:  The MSU showcase requires advance registration. Cost: $42 per person (received by July 30) or $52 per person (received after July 30), Registration fee includes, coffee, lunch, parking, 1 trial booklet, and program), plus $5 per copy for additional trial booklets. Visit http://planttour.hrt.msu.edu/showcas to download registration form and view tentative schedule.  Any questions contact:

Jennifer Sweet
Phone: (517) 355-5191 x1339
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

Organic Certification Cost Share Available to Michigan Certified Organic Farmers & Processors

If you are a certified organic farmer and this is your first or 15th year of certification then you are eligible for cost share from the US government. These funds are available through the US Farm Bill.  A farmer can receive up to 75% of the cost of certification with a maximum of $750 dollars.  To receive this payment, you just need to complete a one page form with basic information, send a copy of your certification and a copy of your payment receipt. Upon verification of eligibility you will be sent a check. Please be sure to send in all needed info to assure your application is promptly processed.

The cost share that is available through the 2008 Farm Bill will be available to all organic certified farmers. The purpose of these funds is to help offset the cost of certification paid by farmers. This service is being administered by Michigan Organic Food and Farming Alliance this year. Due to budget cuts the Michigan Department of Agriculture will not be providing this service but they will oversee the work conducted by MOFFA non-profit 501-3c organization. (www.MOFFA.org).

Perspective farmers and processors eligible for the cost share will be sent an application through the US mail. Certified organic Michigan farmers who do not receive a letter can also apply by accessing the form through the MOFFA web site (www.MOFFA.org) or calling MOFFA to have an application sent to you (248-262-6826). The time line for applications will be from August 4 through September 2, 2010. It is important to send in all needed documents with the completed form as there will not be adequate time to do follow up due to the short window of time.

Seeking your input for the 2011 MOFFA Organic Conference

Whether you are organic farmer or an organic food advocate the Michigan Organic Food and Farming Alliance Conference committee is seeking your input. Please tell us topics you would like to have presented at the next conference which will be on March 5, 2011 at the Kellogg Conference Center, East Lansing, MI. Do you know of a speaker that you have enjoyed in the past and would like to hear again? Please send us their contact information. Send your ideas to [log in to unmask] . We look forward to your input and a chance to serve you well.

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