Michigan Organic Listserv

August 26, 2010


Funding opportunity for youth and youth educators

The 2010 North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Youth & Youth Educator Grant Call for Proposals is now available.

These grants are a part of the Farmer Rancher Grant Program. Their purpose is to provide opportunities for youth in the North Central Region to learn more about Sustainable Agriculture.  Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible. A total of approximately $34,000 is available for this program.

There are two options:

1. YOUTH GRANTS. These grants are for on-farm research, demonstration, or education projects by youth ages 8-18. Research and demonstration projects are for hands-on efforts to explore Sustainable Agriculture issues and practices. Education projects can involve teaching others about Sustainable Agriculture or attending a Sustainable Agriculture conference, workshop, or camp. $400 maximum.

2. YOUTH EDUCATOR GRANTS. These are grants for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. $2,000 maximum.

Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at

Proposals are due by 4:30 pm, Friday, January 14, 2011 at the NCR-SARE office in Jefferson City, MO

Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator, at [log in to unmask] or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. A hard copy or an emailed copy of the call for proposals is also available by contacting Joan Benjamin. We make slight revisions to our calls for proposals each year, which means it is crucial to use the most recent call for proposals.

Since 1988, the NCR-SARE program has awarded more than $40 million worth of competitive grants to farmers and ranchers, researchers, educators, public and private institutions, nonprofit groups, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in 12 states.

Each state in SARE's North Central Region has one or more State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators who can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. Interested applicants can find their State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator online at


Opportunities for Farmers

Asparagus Growers Eligible for Training, Cash by Matt Milkovich, Managing Editor, Vegetable Growers News

For the rest of the summer, U.S. asparagus growers can apply for technical training and cash benefits under a USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) program.

In April, the National Asparagus Council submitted a petition to FAS requesting help from the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers Program (TAA), which "provides technical training and cash benefits to eligible U.S. producers and fishermen of raw agricultural commodities whose crops or catch have been adversely affected by imports of like or directly competitive commodities," according to FAS.

After reviewing the petition, FAS determined that "increased imports of asparagus during January-December 2009 contributed to a greater than 15 percent decline in the quantity of production in 2009, compared to the average of the three preceding marketing years."

Starting June 25, asparagus producers had 90 days to apply for the TAA training and benefits. The sign-up period will end around Sept. 22, according to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (MAAB).

Until then, producers who want to apply for the training and benefits must submit a written application to their local Farm Service Agency office. Applications are available on the FAS website, at

The TAA program should not be confused with the Market Loss Assistance Program that was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. The industry is still waiting to hear when that money will be available, according to MAAB.

An FAS press release gave more details about the TAA program: "Program benefits include cash payments and free technical training designed to help producers develop and implement business adjustment plans. Producers that develop an approved initial business plan will receive up to $4,000 as payment toward implementing the plan or developing a long-term business adjustment plan. Producers who subsequently develop approved long-term business adjustment plans are entitled to receive an additional cash payment of up to $8,000 to be applied toward implementing the plan. A producer may not receive more than $12,000 or benefit from any other TAA program during the 36-month period following certification of a group petition. Travel and subsistence expenses related to attending training sessions may also be reimbursable."

For more information about the program, visit, call TAA staff at (202) 720-0638 or (202) 690-0633, or e-mail [log in to unmask].

Article can be found online at the Vegetable Growers News, September Issue


The Chicago Public Schools is looking for 2.3 million dollars worth of produce within a 250 mile radius of Chicago and Michigan

Request for Information from Midwest Farmers, Processors, and Distributors:
For the 2010-2011 School Year, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality (CTH) is seeking fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables from Midwest farmers and processors to feed Chicago Public School students. To assist with the procurement process, this Request for Information is asking farmers, processors, and distributors to respond to specific needs of CTH. Please submit responses to CTH strategic partner by September 10, 2010. Purchases will begin in October of 2010.
For this school year, it is the goal of CTH to purchase $2,300,000 of Midwest fresh and frozen produce. CTH will pay market prices for produce (FOB Chicago).

Requirements for product and/or producers include:
Additionally, respondents must confirm the following:

Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality seeks to minimize pesticide residues on this produce and therefore will give preference to products that are grown:
*Preference means that in a given situation with two products where all else is equal, those that meet the preferences will be chosen. 

About Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality

Chicago Public Schools has contracted with Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality to provide food service management services in 481 schools in Chicago. Chartwells-Thompson, a joint venture between Chartwells School Dining Services and Thompson Hospitality serves more than 85,000 breakfasts and 200,000 lunches every day. As part of Chartwells-Thompson’s commitment to serving healthy appealing school meals that meet and exceed nutrition standards, CTH will expand the volume of locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Response Form can be found at under the farmer opportunities tab, or visit

Deadline for Response: September 10, 2010

Responses should be submitted to [log in to unmask]

Or mailed to 7115 W. North Ave. #504, Oak Park, IL 60302.

For more information call at (708) 763-9920


News for Organic Farmers

We have had a few questions on the subject of managing weeds in fields where red clover was frost-seeded into wheat:

Those of you who frost-seed red clover into wheat are noticing more weeds than usual and are wondering what to do.  First, DON'T KILL IT YET!  There are two reasons I think that we are seeing more weeds than usual.  First, we had extremely warm temperatures early in the spring and the summer annuals got started a lot earlier than usual.  Second, the clover got a slow start.

You might be wondering how clover had any handicap whatsoever this year, given the amount of moisture we have had.  It is probably because we had very few freeze thaw cycles by the time the seed was spread. Generally speaking, we should expect our success frost-seeding red clover to be directly proportional to the maple syrup 'crop.'  Red clover depends on the same type of freeze-thaw cycle to achieve seed-soil contact that the sugar bush relies on to pump out the sap. Compared to normal weather patterns, we had very few freeze-thaw events that would actually cause soil cracking.  This likely resulted in much of the clover germinating on the surface.  Thankfully, we had enough moisture to allow it to establish anyway, but it seemed to take much longer.  Couple that with relatively thick wheat . . .
So now you have ragweed, foxtail, etc, and we have probably accumulated about half (or less) of the growth and fixed less than half of the nitrogen that the clover is capable of accumulating by mid-October, so it would be truly a shame to kill it at this point. What should you do? Clip the fields!  Yes, there is a cost associated with that, and you will have to decide if it will pay you back in the long run.  This is one of those situations that we don't have clear data for, but we do have basic principles that would seem to suggest that it is better to clip it rather than killing it altogether.  If you have access to a disc mower, that will probably be the most efficient tool.  I have also heard of people use stalk-choppers, bush-hogs, etc.  Think about time and fuel consumption.  You don't need to set it too low, keeping in mind that you’re trying to remove the weed seed-heads before they set viable seed.  Yes, the clover will be set back, but it will come back thicker than ever and the re-growth will not be as viney as it was last fall.

Another reason to avoid killing the clover in the in the late-summer or early-fall is that soil microbes are much more active when soil temperatures are above 50º F. Current low/high soil temperatures are varying between 65 and 85 degrees! Warm soil temperatures favor rapid decomposition of the clover plants.  Under these conditions (and the conditions over the next 50 days or so), soil microbes will quickly cause organic forms of nitrogen to be converted to nitrate, a form of nitrogen that is easily lost via leaching or denitrification.   In Southern Michigan, soil temperatures usually remain above 50º F until about mid-October.  Properly timing the termination of the clover stand can vastly reduce the amount of nitrogen that is lost from the system.

Questions? Contact Daniel Hudson
Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator
Ingham County MSU Extension
121 E. Maple Street
P.O. Box 319
Mason, MI  48854
Office Phone: 517-676-7207 ext 7291

Investing in Lime Can Improve Your Bottom Line, by Darryl Warncke, Michigan State University

Lime not only neutralizes soil acidity, it also is a valuable source of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for producing good-quality vegetables.
Calcitic limes primarily provide calcium, and dolomitic limes provide both calcium and magnesium. Agricultural lime contains a range of particle sizes. The small particles react quickly in the soil to neutralize acid conditions. The larger particles react slowly to continue neutralization of soil acidity and maintain the soil pH in a favorable range over a number of years, usually three to five.

When lime is needed, it is suggested to apply it six months prior to planting the next crop. This allows time for the lime to react and raise the soil pH to a more favorable level. Fall application after crops are harvested allows for this to occur. However, if soils are sampled in the spring and a need for lime is determined, application and incorporation prior to planting will still provide good benefit. When lime is needed, the most important thing to do is get the lime applied.

At $22 to $25 per ton, lime may initially seem like quite a large investment. But when one considers that yield is being lost under acid conditions, the investment may not be that great. Lime will provide benefit for many years. Push the pencil. How much increase in crop yield will be needed to cover the cost of 2 or 3 tons of lime (about $55 to $78, including a spreading fee)?

Depending on the crop, increasing the soil pH from 5.5 to above 6.0 may increase crop production by 25 percent or more. Therefore, chances are pretty good that investment in needed lime will pay for itself with improved crop quality and yields in one or two years. Over a four-year period, lime will definitely put more money in your pocket.

Investment in lime will need to be made at some point in time. It is better to make that investment before the soil becomes too acidic and starts costing crop yield.

Periodically applying 2 tons of lime per acre, as indicated by a soil test, stabilizes the soil pH and crop production and is easier on the budget. In addition to neutralization of soil acidity and improved crop productivity, other benefits from applying lime include: 1) increased supply of calcium and magnesium, 2) improved microbial activity, 3) improved soil structure and quality and 4) improved efficacy of herbicides.

Bottom line: When lime is needed, get it applied. It will put more money in your pocket.

Full article can be found in the September Issue of the Vegetable Growers News,

Job Opportunities in Organics

Farmer Wanted for the Greening of Detroit


Location: 1418 Michigan Ave., Detroit 48216
Date Posted:
August 5, 2010
Application Deadline:
September 7, 2010
Salary: $28,800 - $32,000 commensurate with experience plus benefits
Area of Focus: Urban Agriculture, Organic Farming Education, The Environment

Organizational Description:
The Greening of Detroit’s mission is to “guide and inspire the growth of a ‘greener’ Detroit through planting and educational programs, environmental leadership, advocacy, and by building community capacity.” One of the ways The Greening engages the community to achieve this mission is through urban gardening and agriculture projects. Since 2003, The Greening of Detroit has been at the forefront of an emerging movement to achieve a ‘greener’ city while transforming the food system in Detroit. Our accomplishments include working with our partners in The Garden Resource Program to provide farming resources and educational opportunities to over 10,000 urban gardeners of all ages each year in the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park and operating multiple urban farms and nutrition education programs across the City.

Position Summary:
The Greening of Detroit is seeking a full-time Farmer to work with our Urban Agriculture staff to maintain, grow, and guide our farming operations and related educational programming. The Greening of Detroit currently operates a 2-acre farm at the Romanowski Farm Park, a 30-acre city-owned park that includes teaching and production gardens, an orchard, and sugar bush. We also help manage the farm at the Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA), a Detroit Public School that works with students to incorporate farming and related entrepreneurial education into the curriculum.

Our newest urban farms, located in downtown Detroit include the Plum Street and Detroit Market Gardens. These small-scale production-focused farms will be operated year-round and used to facilitate youth and adult education.

The Farmer is responsible for the planning and management of Plum Street and Detroit Market Gardens and will also be assisting with the management of the Romanowski Farm Park and CFA farm. He/she will work closely with Urban Agriculture staff to conduct operations at all sites from education and land preparation through quality harvest including all aspects of organic vegetable, herb, flower and fruit production. The Farmer reports to the Urban Farm Operations Manager.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Additional Qualifications:
How to Apply: Please send email of your resume and cover letter to [log in to unmask]. Use the job title as the subject line. Only potential interviewees will be contacted. Visit our website at The Greening of Detroit is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Michigan: Detroit Food Policy Council Seeks Coordinator

Date Posted: August 4, 2010
Application Deadline: September 7, 2010
Salary: $50,000 - 65,000 commensurate with experience plus benefits
Area of Focus: Food Access, Health, Public Policy, Advocacy and Outreach

Organizational Description:
The Detroit Food Policy Council (DFPC) is an advisory, monitoring and implementation body that is committed to nurturing the development and maintenance of a food-secure City of Detroit in which all of its residents are hunger-free, healthy and benefit economically from the food system that impacts their lives.

Position Summary: The Detroit Food Policy Council is seeking a full-time Coordinator to manage the day-to-day operations of the Detroit Food Policy Council. Under the direction of the DFPC, the Coordinator will work to advocate for urban agriculture and composting being included as part of the strategic development of the City of Detroit, work with City departments to streamline the process to promote urban agriculture in Detroit including acquisition of land and access to water, review the City of Detroit Food Security Policy and develop an implementation and monitoring plan, produce and disseminate an annual City of Detroit Food System Report that quantifies and analyzes data on all aspects of the food system, initiate and coordinate programs that address the food related needs of Detroiters, convene an annual "Powering Up the Local Food System" Conference, and recommend new food related policy as the need arises.

Qualifications: The successful candidate will be extensively familiar with urban food systems, poverty, food security, and health and food justice issues. They will possess excellent networking, community relations and writing skills as well as demonstrate leadership, self-motivation and the ability to coordinate work with collaboratives, neighborhood groups, and government officials.  Prior work experience will include 5 years minimum working in the food system in a public, non-profit, and/or for-profit environment; policy analysis, community development (food, health, youth, housing, etc.); and/or fundraising.

Additional Desired Qualifications:

Duties and Responsibilities:
How to Apply:
Please send your resume including three references with a cover letter to:
The Detroit Food Policy Council
Attention: DFPC Hiring Committee
2934 Russell Street
Detroit, MI 48207

Or email these materials to Ashley Atkinson, [log in to unmask]. Use the job title as the subject line.


Announcements for Organic Farmers and Enthusiasts

Alpine Buck for Sale (from Ohio)

Annie Warmke has a beautiful intact Alpine buck that was born the first part. of May.  He's ready to have a new home.  She’s asking $60.  Annie would prefer that he have a home rather than going to Blystone Farm to be butchered for Ramadan.  He's really well-behaved, knows his name and is used to a variety of animals.  His mom is a steady milker and has produced milk for 19 months and only dried up when we wanted to breed he

Annie also has some very nice pullets that are just beginning to lay eggs (this week).  They are Dominiques and Buff Orpingtons.  She decided to raise a few extra to encourage people to add them to their flock, or to have a couple of hens in their backyard.  Dominiques lay brown eggs and area steady producers.  Buffs lay well over the winter and like to set in the spring.

Interested? Contact Annie Warmke (740) 674-4300.

Events for Organic Farmers and Enthusiasts

Michigan’s Good Food Charter: Taking it to Policymakers Webinar

Have you ever wondered?

When: Tuesday, September 7, 2010; noon – 1pm (EDT)


Why: This webinar will include: 1. How to take the goals and agenda priorities in the Michigan Good Food Charter to candidates and policymakers. 2. What you need to know to approach both state and local level policymakers. 3. Where to start with various food policy issues in the charter.  Jean Doss, of J. Doss Consulting, LLC, and Guy Williams, of G.O. Williams & Associates, LLC, will share “how to” information gleaned from their deep experience in working with policy-makers.

How: Please Register by Friday, September 3, 2010. To register online at: Visit under the events tab to view webinar flier.

The Community Garden- Growing Community of Eaton Rapids Presents its 2nd Annual Harvest Festival

When: August 29, 2010, at 1:00-4:00 p.m.

6135 E. Clinton Trail, Eaton Rapids, MI

Why: Come enjoy ethnic foods, ethnic costumes, and ethnic music. Participate in volleyball, croquet, soccer, bocce ball, and more. Bring your lawn chairs or picnic blankets and join us in the celebration. Come join the fun and meet some exciting people.

Cost: Free of charge. No registration necessary, but please bring a dish to pass or a garden tool for donation. Table service and beverages will be provided.




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