Michigan Organic Listserv
September 2, 2010
Organic News Articles
Balanced' ecosystems seen in organic ag better at controlling pests
by David Crowder Washington State University.
More balanced animal and plant communities typical of organic farms work better at fighting pests and growing a better plant.
researchers looked at insect pests and their natural enemies in
potatoes and found organic crops had more balanced insect populations in
which no one species of insect has a chance to dominate. And in test
plots, the crops with the more balanced insect populations grew better.
think 'balance' is a good term," says David Crowder, a post-doctorate
research associate in entomology at Washington State University. "When
the species are balanced, at least in our experiments, they're able to
fulfill their roles in a more harmonious fashion."
and colleagues here and at the University of Georgia use the term
"evenness" to describe the relatively equal abundance of different
species in an ecosystem. Conservation efforts more typically concentrate
on species richness—the number of individual species—or the loss of
individual species. Crowder's paper is one of only a few to address the
issue. It is the first the first to look at animal and fungal
communities and at multiple points in the food chain.
researchers say their results strengthen the argument that both
richness and evenness need to be considered in restoring an ecosystem.
The paper also highlights insect predator and prey relationships at a
time when the potato industry and large French fry customers like
McDonald's and Wendy's are being pushed to consider the ecological
sustainability of different pest-control practices.
pest-management on farms often leads to biological communities
dominated by a few species. Looking at conventional and organic potato
farms in central Washington State's Columbia Basin, Crowder found that
the evenness of natural pests differed drastically between the two types
of farms. In the conventional fields, one species might account for
four out of five insects. In the organic fields, the most abundant
species accounted for as little as 38 percent of a field's insect
predators and enemies.
field enclosures on Washington State University's Pullman campus,
Crowder recreated those conditions using potato plants, Colorado potato
beetles, four insect species and three soil pathogens that attack the
beetles. When the predators and pathogens had similar numbers, says
Crowder, "we would get significantly less potato beetles at the end of
"In turn," he adds, "we'd get bigger plants."
Crowder says he is unsure
why species evenness was lower in conventional crops. It could be from
different types of fertilization or from insecticides killing some
natural enemies more than others.
Article can be found online at: http://www.non-gmoreport.com/ArchivesTwo/org&nongmo_july-aug2010.pdf
USDA bars organic certifier from operating in China
by The Organic & Non-GMO Report July/August 2010
National Organic Program has barred an organic certifier from operating
in China for at least one year after an audit revealed conflicts of
interest with the Chinese government.
said that Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) had Chinese
government employees, not independent inspectors, performing inspections
at state-owned organic farms.
was one of USDA’s 4top organic inspectors in China, responsible for
certifying US bound fruits, vegetables, rice and other products from
about 231 farms and processors.
can apply for reaccreditation as an NOP certifying agent in China after
one year and must hire inspectors independent of the Chinese
a statement, OCIA said “OCIA respects the decision of the National
Organic Program and would like to thank the NOP for their willingness to
work with OCIA through this process. Although OCIA appealed the
findings of the NOP, we recognize that conflict of interest concerns can
bring into question the entire certification process of an accredited
certifier by the organic industry and by the general public.” (SOURCE:
Article can be found online at: http://www.non-gmoreport.com/ArchivesTwo/org&nongmo_july-aug2010.pdf
Heavy rains hamper organic grain production in Midwest
by The Organic & Non-GMO Report July/August 2010
Heavy rain in the Upper
Midwest and Eastern Cornbelt has hampered organic farming, causing
serious weed problems and damaging some crops. Crops further east saw
drier weather which depleted soil moisture. Organic grain and feed
prices in the Upper Midwest were steady with light demand throughout
June. Stored supplies of organic wheat totaled 973 bushels, up 48% from
last year. Organic feed corn prices were $4.15 to $5.00 per bushel,
while organic food-grade soybean prices were $21.00 to $23.00 per bushel
and feed grade soybeans were $16.15 to $17.10 per bushel. Organic grain
prices in the Eastern Cornbelt were steady with light demand on
moderate offerings. Prices for organic feed corn were $4.75 to $5.79 per
bushel, while feed-grad soybeans were $16.20 to $17.00 per bushel.
What is MIFMA? (The Michigan Farmers Market Association)
Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) was started in 2006 as a
statewide association to promote local food consumption in Michigan by
connecting more farmers to consumers through farmers markets. MIFMA’s
mission is to advance farmers markets to create a thriving marketplace
for local food and farm products. Their vision is to place farmers
markets at the forefront of the local food movement and works to ensure
all residents have access to healthy, locally grown food and that
Michigan farmers markets receive policy support.
To learn more about MIFMA visit: http://www.mifma.org/home/.
Below is a article written for MIFMA’s August 2010 Newsletter by Kathryn Colasanti, CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems.
A Vision for Good Food in Michigan
By Kathryn Colasanti, CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food System
Michigan Good Food Charter reemphasizing our local and regional food
systems and by promoting “good food” – food that is healthy, green, fair
farmers market managers, vendors and advocates, you know intimately the
impact that building up a local food system can have in supporting
farmers and creating new opportunities for residents to find fresh,
healthy food. The Michigan Good Food Charter is intended to strengthen
these connections by reemphasizing our local and regional food systems
and by promoting “good food” – food that is healthy, green, fair and
Michigan grows an amazing array of fruits, vegetables and other foods,
59 percent of our residents still live in places with inadequate access
to healthy food. And while there is growing interest in local foods, we
are still losing too many farms and are still failing to provide a
reasonable income to too many farmers, who must support themselves
through off-farm work.
we really want Michigan to be a place where our people are healthy and
our communities are prosperous, we need to enact policies that assure
all Michiganders have access to good food and all Michigan farmers and
food businesses have opportunities to be profitable. The Michigan Good
Food Charter lays out a vision, a series of goals, and a set of specific
policy priorities to get us there.
Many of these policy priorities could support farmers markets, including:
Maximizing public benefit
programs by supporting matching programs like Detroit’s “Double-Up Food
Bucks” and encouraging foundations to assist with funding to enable
more farmers markets to accept Bridge Cards.
Urging local officials to include farmers markets in comprehensive planning and zoning.
food business districts that would enable farmers markets to locate near
other food based businesses and foster a hub of economic activity
connecting farmers, buyers, processors and retailers.
Committing additional resources to increasing the number of farmers markets in under served areas.
a Michigan Food and Farming Corps program, similar to Americorps, that
would enable recent graduates or others interested in serving their
community to help develop or expand farmers markets.
Highlighting farmers markets, and other Michigan food and agriculture places, in state marketing and tourism promotion efforts.
that Michigan’s food- and agriculture related laws and regulations do
not create unnecessary transaction costs and regulatory burdens on
low-risk businesses, like many farmers market vendors.
you are a farmers market manager, market vendor or community advocate,
you can advance the vision of the Michigan Good Food Charter.
You can familiarize yourself with the charter at www.michiganfood.org and then talk to candidates in your district or officials in your city about the priorities that are important to you.
You can sign the Resolution of Support form at www.michiganfood.org as an individual, farm or market. Several farmers markets have already done this!
can register for our upcoming webinar (September 7th noon-1pm) on how
to take the charter to state and local decision makers and signup for
the FoodSpeak listserv to stay up-to-date on other opportunities. See www.michiganfood.org
You can request copies of the Michigan Good Food charter or executive summary to hand out to customers at your market, link to www.michiganfood.org
from your website or organize citizens in your community to discuss how
to make the charter priorities a reality where you live.
work together to create a system based on good food in Michigan and
achieve a healthier, more prosperous and more equitable state!
For more information, contact Kathryn Colasanti at 517-353-0642 or [log in to unmask].
Current News Articles for Cover Crop & Vegetable Production
Alfalfa- A crop for hay or building soil
is a crop that can be grown on a field for hay, pasture, or even as a
cover crop. If land will not be used for crop production for more than a
single season-alfalfa can be grown, harvested a couple times, then
turned into the soil (probably a couple of passes) a season prior to
planting (need at least 3 weeks for crop to break down prior to
planting). Alfalfa is a perennial crop that does well in Michigan and
the seed is readily available. It is a legume so it “fixes” nitrogen. It
provides a good cover for weed competition and has deep roots to help
mine nutrients, mellow soil as well as produce nitrogen through nitrogen
fixation. The table offered in this report is also available on the
Michigan organic web site (www.michiganorganic.msu.edu). It contains data on alfalfa varieties as well as red clover and rye-all good crops for multi purpose use.
Summer Seeding Alfalfa
by Phil Kaatz, Michigan State University Extension
for planting alfalfa typically are done in the early spring or during
the summer. The following recommendations are the result of research
done at Michigan State University. Successful summer seedings can be
established, however, timely seeding is important.
As you plan your new alfalfa seedings, consider the following basic principles:
the appropriate alfalfa variety for your soil and management system.
Improved varieties have been tested by Michigan State University to
provide information on yield, persistence, and forage quality as the
primary considerations for highly productive stands. Improved varieties
can yield up to 144% of public varieties such as Vernal. For details,
refer to MSU Bulletin, FORAGE VARIETIES FOR MICHIGAN IN 2010 at http://web1.msue.msu.edu/fis/research/2010all.pdf
the options for diseases and insects based on variety selection. Potato
Leaf hopper (PLH) is an insect that reduces alfalfa yield each year in
Michigan. The use of insecticides to control PLH at thresholds is
recommended or another alternative is to plant PLH resistant varieties.
testing should be required. Alfalfa is well adapted to soils that are
well drained and have good moisture retention. The time and money spent
to collect soil for testing can quickly be recovered in savings on
fertilizer or lime and improve productivity. If lime is needed, start
working the lime into the field 6 months before seeding. If this isn’t
possible, try to apply half of the lime at seedbed preparation and half
at planting. Either method is better than waiting to apply lime after
the seeding has been planted. Alfalfa has an optimum soil pH of 6.8 but
will grow at soil pH 6.0 with reduced yields.
the conventional methods for seeding (plowing and tillage before
drilling) before choosing no-till (drilling seeds directly into sod). In
either case the results can be excellent, but it takes planning. In
some cases, you’ll need to work the field a full season ahead of
planting. Brush and weeds such as quackgrass should be dealt with using
treatments of herbicide and/or tillage the year before you seed. Plow
and work the field to destroy weeds before seeding, especially to kill
quackgrass. If necessary, use an herbicide such as Roundup, following
the label directions on rates and waiting time before seeding.
summer seedings, seed between July 15 and August 1 in northern regions
of Michigan and August to August 15 in southern regions. If the weather
late in the summer is very dry, wait until next spring. It’s important
for the young seedlings to have adequate moisture for continued growth
into the early fall period to insure good winter hardiness.
should be shallow. To establish a pasture or hayfield, use a drill that
places the grass and legume seeds not more than ¼ to ½ inch below the
surface. On most soils you’ll need to pack the surface with press
wheels, a roller or a cultipacker. On small acreage, much of the
equipment used to establish lawns can be used to seed pastures or
use of a cover crop such as oats should not be used in summer seedings
because of strong competition for water and nutrients. Alfalfa should
not be seeded with wheat in the fall because of the danger of winter
the time to plan and implement these steps prior to planting can
provide the opportunity for long-lived alfalfa stands. Many Michigan
farmers are faced with equipment, land and labor costs that are
increasing exponentially, while the value of the products sold off the
farm gain slowly, hold or decline. Increasing the profit margin requires
good management and improved varieties to increase yields.
Summer Seeding Alfalfa was published in The Crop Connection (A MSUE Greater Thumb Area Ag Team Publication) http://www.msue.msu.edu/objects/content_revision/download.cfm/item_id.582119/workspace_id.30/Crop%20Connection%20August%202010.pdf/
Lessons from the 2010 Wheat Season
by Martian Nagelkirk, Michigan State University Extension
this year’s wheat crop is put to bed, it may be a good idea to jot down
the experiences from yet another unique season. While this is best done
on an individual field or farm basis, this observer can offer some
suggestions, albeit only one person’s perspective
to wheat performance there were two factors that stole 10 or more
bushels of yield on many, if not most, acres. The first is last fall’s
delayed planting. Granted, there is little one can do where the
preceding crop is slow to mature. However, the fact remains that yield
potential tends to slip approximately a bushel for every day planting is
delayed into October.
other significant drag on this season’s grain yields were leaf
diseases. In the spring, Powdery Mildew became aggressive where there
were thick stands of a susceptible variety. Thanks to some warm and dry
weather in mid May, the disease was largely arrested and rarely advanced
up unto the flag leaf. Because of this, the yield loss to mildew may
have been limited to 2 to 6 bushels an acre. The other disease that was a
factor in all Thumb wheat fields was Leaf Blotch. It thrived under the
relatively warm and damp conditions following Memorial Day and readily
made its way up unto the flag leaf. In fact, in some fields it continued
to climb to the head causing Glume Blotch. This single disease, plus a
sprinkling of leaf rust and striped rust probably caused yield losses in
the neighborhood of 10 to 15 bushels per acre where untreated.
fungicides made a significant difference. Although they cannot rescue
all the bushels that are lost from any disease, they can significantly
protect some of the yield. Grossly generalizing the results from one
trial near Sandusky, a single application of a strobilurin or triazole
fungicide at full-tillering resulted in a yield advantage of
approximately 5 bushels; applied at flag leaf resulted in a 3.5 bushel
advantage; and applied at flowering resulted in a 6 bushel advantage. In
a second trial where fungicides were applied across several varieties,
the average yield increases were twice that of the first trial. The
lesson being, fungicides can make a significant difference to the bottom
line in years where foliar diseases are abundant.
lesson (or reminder) from the 2010 season was that predicting Fusarium
Head Blight is still extremely difficult. During early flowering, the
weather was warm and dry prompting many to forego the use of a fungicide
on white wheat. This concurred with the national scab model.
Unfortunately, the weather soon took on a damp pattern encouraging flag
leaf diseases and, especially where flowering began following Memorial
Day, some Head Scab. The experience here is a reminder that Head Scab
predictions need to incorporate a weather forecast and that disease
development happens very quickly once the weather environment favors the
is cause for optimism as one looks to the 2011 wheat season. Besides a
boost in crop price, a timely planting is much more likely this fall and
the experience of this year’s disease challenges should serve growers
well in managing the new crop.
Lessons from the 2010 Wheat Season was published in The Crop Connection (A MSUE Greater Thumb Area Ag Team Publication) http://www.msue.msu.edu/objects/content_revision/download.cfm/item_id.582119/workspace_id.-30/Crop%20Connection%20August%202010.pdf/
Celery leaf tier are present
by Zsofia Szendrei, Entomology
Leaf Tier Moths are on the rise. The larva attacks many species of
cultivated flowers, weeds and vegetables including beets, spinach, beans
as well as celery.
the last month growers, consultants and agronomists have called to
report large numbers of the celery leaf tier moth throughout the state.
They noticed the moths rising up in great numbers as they moved through
fields. The little moths are everywhere, since the larvae of the celery
leaf tier attack many species of cultivated flowers, weeds and
vegetables including beets, spinach, beans and celery. This insect is
not a pest of soybeans or corn. Another generation will occur in fall,
closer to harvest. As a larva, this insect is a small, greenish-yellow
and three-quarters of an inch-long caterpillar that lives in the upper
leaves of plants. It gets its name from rolling and then tying together
the leaves with silk in order to make a protective shelter. Small larvae
feed on leaves, but as they grow, they move to the upper portions of
the petiole. Adult celery leaf tier resembles European corn borer on
first look, except that it is smaller and has a “snout” mouthpart
appearance. Photos can be viewed at this website: http://bugguide.net/node/view/9721/bgimage. Its wingspan is about 0.75 inch compared to the European corn borer’s at 1.0 to 1.25 inch wingspan.
damage looks like cutworm or looper damage with circular depressions
and hollowed out tissue. Tied leaves, webbing and the presence of the
larvae are contaminants at harvest. Small larvae can be controlled with
BT products, but larger larvae may be more difficult to control. Because
this pest is sporadic (meaning that it only occurs in large numbers in
some years and not in others), there is no treatment threshold developed
specifically for Michigan. According to a recommendation from Virginia
Tech, the following treatments threshold is recommended: at five
different locations in a field inspect 20 plants for larvae on a weekly
basis. Treatment is warranted if there are more than four weeks before
harvest and there are two or more larvae per 100 plants. (http://www.idlab.ento.vt.edu/IDLab/vegpests/vegfs/celeryleaftier.html)
Article can be found online in the MSU Vegetable CAT Alert newsletter http://ipmnews.msu.edu/vegetable/
Start gardening early and keep on growing later in the season with a simple soil warmer you can build yourself.
might think that the growing season has a finite beginning and end: the
last frost in spring and the first frost in fall. But, in fact, many
gardeners try to start planting and harvesting when frost still
threatens. With a simple cold frame, you can extend your season by a
month or more on either end—in some climates, you can grow right through
the winter with one. A cold frame is an ideal place to gradually
acclimate tomato or pepper seedlings grown indoors to conditions
is a cold frame? Nothing more than four walls to trap heat and shelter
plants, and a transparent lid that admits light. You can make the walls
from any sturdy material—plywood, concrete, even bales of hay. An old
window works perfectly as a lid, but you can also use Plexiglas or
plastic sheeting tacked to a frame.
lid's size usually determines the dimensions of the cold frame. Still,
you'll want it to be larger than 2 by 4 feet to make it worth your
while; you don't want it much larger than 3 by 6 feet, so that you can
reach all the plants inside. Build the back 4 to 6 inches higher than
the front to maximize the amount of light that reaches the plants inside
and to allow water or melting snow to drain off the top easily.
The best site for your
cold frame, according to Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic
Gardening, is a south-facing, sunny spot with good drainage and some
protection from the wind. Ideally, the site should get full sun from
mid-morning to mid-afternoon. You can set up a cold frame permanently in
your garden, or make one that you put away when you're not using it.
you set up a cold frame in a permanent spot, dig out the top 3 or 4
inches of soil inside the frame and replace it with a layer of coarse
gravel. Then put 6 inches of topsoil back. This will ensure good
can grow cold-frame plants in pots, flats or, if you're growing just
one type of plant (say, salad greens) plant right in the soil.
key to using a cold frame successfully is paying attention to the
temperature—and the trick is in keeping it cool rather than warm. The
temperature inside the cold frame should stay below 75 degrees F for
summer plants, below 60 degrees for plants that normally grow in spring
and fall. The way to keep temperatures cool inside a cold frame is to
lift the lid. A good rule of thumb: when outdoor temperatures are above
40 degrees, prop open the lid 6 inches; when the outdoor temps clear 50
degrees F, remove the lid. Be sure to restore the lid in late afternoon
to trap the heat inside for the cool night. You can also buy automatic
venting devices in some gardening catalogs.
frigid nights, the plants inside the cold frame may need a little extra
protection to keep from freezing. Most heat escapes through the glass,
so pile insulation on top. You can use old blankets, straw, newspaper or
whatever is handy. Snow insulates well, too, but brush heavy snow off
the glass so it doesn't break.
Cold Frame article can be found online at: http://www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-5-19-106-1-1-2,00.html
Michigan Regional Reports Available on Vegetable Production, August 25, 2010
MSU Crop Advisory Team Vegetable Alerts (CAT Alerts) Regional Reports
are out for the following areas. In these reports you will find
information on weather, growth stages, small and tree fruits. To view
reports visit: http://ipmnews.msu.edu/vegetable/
- Grand Rapids Area
- Macomb, Lapeer, St. Clair Counties
- SW Michigan Research and Extension Center
Resources on Organic Farming
The new Cornell Soil Health Assessment Training Manual is now available online
purpose of this manual is to provide an overview of the concept of soil
health. It provides guidelines on how to conduct in field qualitative
and quantitative soil health assessment. It includes a how-to guide for
proper soil sampling, an overview of laboratory methods used to assess
the health status of soil, the soil health report and their
interpretation, and identifies management strategies for improving soil
health based on measured constraints.
The Cornell Soil Health Assessment Training Manual can be found in pdf format at www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the Soil Building and Compost Tab. Or visit the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences web page http://www.hort.cornell.edu/soilhealth/extension/manual.htm.
Nutrition Education Project Coordinator at Springport Public Schools
Position: Nutrition Education Project Coordinator
Public Schools is seeking a candidate for the position of Program
Coordinator to manage Springport’s Nutrition Education through Gardening
program. The Coordinator’s responsibilities in this area will include:
Serve as grant administrator and prepare monthly fiscal reports
- Manage and maintain accurate financial records
- Work as a cooperative team member in the Springport Agriscience Program
- Coordinate closely with the Michigan Nutrition Network Project Liaison
- Coordinate closely with the nutrition education teacher
- Assist nutrition education teacher with food demonstrations
- Coordinate and create a monthly nutrition education newsletter as well as bulletin boards, posters, and displays
- Coordinate district-wide nutrition education programming for staff and students within the grant guidelines
- Plan, promote, and implement a summer garden day camp to teach nutrition education
- Seek additional grant funding necessary for carrying out the project
- Any other duties appropriate to the fulfillment of the grant
This is an excellent opportunity for the ideal candidate with a
combination of education and/or experience in agriculture and/or
nutrition and/or education.
Bachelors Degree or equivalent work experience in community food
systems, food policy or agriculture and natural resources
- Experience in gardening, horticulture, greenhouse management
- Experience working with students
- Detail-oriented and well organized
- Self-motivated, hard working and dependable
- Experience grant writing and fundraising
- Experience managing and maintaining a budget
Anticipated Salary and Benefit Package: $60,000 (Based on an academic year, plus 2 days/week throughout the summer months)
Apply to: Randall Cook, Superintendent
Springport Public Schools
300 W. Main Street
Springport, MI 49284
Growing Hope is seeking an Outreach & Volunteerism Manager
Position Title: Outreach & Volunteerism Manager
Growing Hope is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to
empowering individuals, groups and communities through community
gardening and increasing access to healthy food.
Growing Hope is seeking an experienced and dedicated full-time manager
to oversee the Outreach, Volunteerism, and Communications at Growing
Hope. This position will both oversee inquiries (volunteers, program
participants, partners, et al) to the organization and manage external
communications. This includes management of the organizational website,
publications, e-newsletters, social networking, program & event
promotion, educational signage, press relations, and outreach at
community events. S/he will oversee the utilization of volunteers
throughout the organization, focusing on effective volunteer training,
retention and evaluation of volunteer efforts/impact, and tracking. S/he
will be a lead in targeted and ongoing community assessment and
gathering stakeholder feedback, and may serve as an organizational
liaison in local and regional coalitions, including some involved in
public policy. S/he may also oversee implementation of social enterprise
strategies. This person will be responsible for supervision of
Americorps*VISTA members, seasonal/temporary staff and interns, and
Qualified candidates will exhibit the following:
Compensation: Mid-$30K’s, partial benefits available
- Highly skilled communicator (oral, written), experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and comfortable
- communicating in person, by phone, email, in front of groups, and to a variety of audiences
- Strong organizational and management skills, including excellent follow-through.
Passion for Growing Hope’s mission and work. Dedication to working as a
member of and in partnership with diverse communities.
- Project management expertise; experience with database management
- Volunteer management/coordination experience; Supervision/management experience of people at a variety of skill levels
Experience in nonprofit and community-based organizations; community organizing experience a plus
Visual design skills including comfort with Adobe design programs;
website editing experience (html not necessary, though)
- Demonstrated ability to develop systems for and oversee extensive tracking, documentation, & evaluation efforts
- Proactive, self-learner who can see the big picture and anticipate organizational needs
- Experience in coordinating and leading teams, including with volunteers
- Ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously, and make quick decisions
- Experience in organic gardening/farming, nutrition, sustainability, and community food systems.
- Desire to encourage local community members to share ideas, talents and resources.
- Comfort in use of computers (Mac & PC) and technology on a daily basis.
- Willingness to adapt to changing organizational conditions and extremely limited resources.
- Creativity, flexibility, resourcefulness and positive thinking.
- Flexibility to work non-traditional hours, including evening and weekends as scheduled
Some preference given to Ypsilanti-area residents [or those willing to
relocate to and engage in the Ypsilanti community.
To apply: Resume & 2 page cover letter, complete with references, to Amanda Edmonds, Executive Director at [log in to unmask]. Samples of written or visual work also welcome, though not required. Position open until filled.
National Service AmeriCorps*VISTA Positions At Growing Hope and Local Partners in Washtenaw County, Michigan
Growing Hope is currently recruiting applicants for VISTA positions for
12-month terms of service, to begin in November 2010 and run through
November 2011. However, prospective members who are willing to commit to
a two-year term of service will be given some preference. 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.
To Apply::There are two steps to the application, and until both are completed, we will not review your application.
1) Go to http://my.americorps.gov
to enter the Americorps online application website. Create your online
Americorps application. Once completed, you still need to submit your
application to Growing Hope. Do a search for Michigan and Growing Hope
you’ll find us among the results—from there you should be able to submit
the application to us. Note: until your references have completed their
sections describing you on the Americorps website, your application is
Submit a resume and 2-page letter describing your interests and
qualifications by September 10th, 2010 at the latest—but applications
will be reviewed and selections made on a rolling basis, so it is
helpful to get yours completed right away. Electronic applications
encouraged; please email (as attachments) to [log in to unmask].
If mailing, please send materials to 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 will need to be available for
interviews in person or by phone (in-person preferred). Please read on
for position areas, and specify in your letter which position( s) you
are interested in, and how your qualifications match that/those position
Vista Position Descriptions:
The Volunteer Coordinator will work to recruit, implement, and retain
volunteers for Growing Hope and its programs, with an emphasis on
building volunteer capacity and retaining volunteers from our target
audiences. This VISTA will work with other Growing Hope staff to
implement effective volunteer opportunities in Growing Hope’s
programming. Strong interpersonal and outreach skills are a must, as are
organizational and management skills.
Youth & Education Coordinator:
This VISTA will work to spread the word about Growing Hope in the
community, growing the next generation of healthy eaters and gardeners,
with a focus on youth and young adult programming in schools, after
school, through youth volunteerism and internships, et al. This VISTA
member must have experience leading children and youth in classroom and
other settings, and be able to balance a flexible attitude with the
necessary structure and discipline for documentation and planning. This
member also helps develop and maintain partners and collaborations with
other youth-serving organizations. Among the dynamic programs this
position works with are Seed2Plate—middle school after school clubs—and
teen interns who act as peer educators.
Farmers’ Market & Food Stamp Outreach Coordinator:
Work to build capacity of a five-year old urban farmers market in
Downtown Ypsilanti with a focus on increasing access to healthy food for
community members, while mentoring other markets in the area to begin
to accept food stamps/EBT. 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 and being a peer mentor to other
Community Organizer & Community Health Organizer:
Up to two positions will be recruited. These VISTA members will expand
community-based garden peer education, develop organizational models for
community & school garden development and partnership, facilitate
our training program for community garden organizing, and work heavily
with volunteers. The health organizer will work to fulfill outreach and
other strategic organizing objectives of the Ypsilanti Health Coalition,
by developing information-sharing resources and being a strong presence
throughout the Ypsilanti community—public health or social background
preferred for this slot. Both VISTA members in these roles need to be
exceptionally skilled at relationship building and follow through, to
support developing and new gardens and teams of garden planners. Public
speaking, comfort in communicating with many audiences in a variety of
settings, and excellent follow through are essential. Experience in
community organizing and outreach are also key.
Organic Farm & Garden Manager: This
VISTA member will work to develop Growing Hope’s new urban
demonstration farm & garden by organizing and leading volunteers to
carry out the work. 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 position will also expand the educational signage and
opportunities as the site develops. A farm in the city means more than
just growing food—it means keeping a site to good neighborly standards,
prioritizing volunteer training, organizing logistics of site
development, managing community relations for the site as people drop
in, and serving on the site development team. This position may be
involved with the development of job training programs for future urban
farmers, both youth and adults. Farming & gardening experience
required, as well as a high degree of self-directedness, proactive
communication skills, a high degree of organization, and creative
Urban Agriculture Social Enterprise Coordinator:
This VISTA member will work to expand Growing Hope’s social enterprise
efforts, from business planning and thorough documentation, to
marketing, to carrying out plans for earning revenue in ways that also
further the organization’s mission. Specifically, it will involve
expanding our raised bed kit programs (including leading volunteers and
training employees in how to build the kits), overseeing the development
of a market garden growers co-operative, and coordinating plant sales.
It will be a balance of planning, research, and marketing with hands-on
work building, growing, and selling. Skills in carpentry &
gardening/farming are important, coupled with strong inter-personal
skills and a business-savvy mind.
Local Partner Positions:
The following positions will be housed at and supervised by partner
organizations, though all VISTA members will do some joint community
projects and training:
Living Stones Community Farm Executive Assistant:
Living Stones Community Farm is a faith-based non-profit social
enterprise which provides training and support to Washtenaw County
residence newly released from prison or jail, by providing vocational
training in urban organic agriculture. This VISTA will promote LSC
through social media networking, sales to area restaurants, and local
farmers markets, and develop and initiate a CSA program in Spring of
2011. She / he will coordinate volunteer opportunities involving area
residents, as well as those enrolled in the Washtenaw County Michigan
Prisoner Reentry Initiative (MPRI). The VISTA will also assist on days
we have community workshops, events, and fundraisers, as well as
occasional farm workdays, and administrative tasks. She/ he will also be
involved in grant and collaboration development with area organizations
Edible Avalon Program Assistant: Edible
Avalon is an urban gardening program through Avalon Housing, a
non-profit affordable, supportive housing provider. The VISTA member
will assist in program planning and implementation, coordinating with
the program leader and team of on-site volunteers. The position also
includes work involving our community center based food pantries. Edible
Avalon is much more than a gardening initiative – it also provides
educational opportunities for our tenants around health, nutrition,
cooking skills and food preservation. Strong inter-personal skills are
required as the VISTA member will be directly working with our tenants,
neighbors and volunteers.
- 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
Expectation of Service: 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, child care subsidies, or other forms of public assistance.
QUESTIONS? More information about Growing Hope is available at www.growinghope.net. More information about VISTA and other Corporation for National and Community Service programs see http://www.cns.gov/. Additional questions about Growing Hope or these positions, please call us at 734-786-8401 or email [log in to unmask]t
Growing Hope Center Development Intern
Hope seeks a volunteer (unpaid) Development Intern for 10-20 hours/week
to help us gain the material and financial support to build our
demonstration sustainable urban farm. The Growing Hope Center will house
the organization's offices in a green remodel of an old house, and the
1.4 urban Ypsilanti property around the house is being developed into a
demonstration urban garden & farm.
intern will write and submit proposals for donation of products,
services, and sponsorships that will bring the Growing Hope Center to
fruition, crafting each as appropriate for the prospective donor. S/he
will make cold calls and follow up calls to companies and service
providers. S/he will research online and also visit stores,
manufacturers, and other demonstration green buildings or gatherings
(e.g. green remodeler’s convention, etc) to identify prospective donors
and talk about the project. She/he will ensure proper documentation,
follow-up, and recognition is done for any products, services, or
Ideally, candidate is
available on Fridays from 8:30-10 am to attend site planning team
meetings. This intern will work mostly independently, but be available
for meetings on site and in the office at pre-determined times. At least
some availability during the business day/business week is a must to
return relevant calls and emails; other work can occur outside of normal
business hours. Minimum commitment: 6 months from start date, which is
the earliest date available by the selected person.
- Knowledge of green building, organic gardening/farming
- Excellent writing & verbal communication skills
- Ability to talk about (with training) and represent Growing Hope
- Thorough follow through
- Fast learner, adaptable
- Attention to detail
- Ability to make cold calls and visits to stores, manufacturers, and over phone
- High level of professionalism
- Ability to work independently
- Previous work in grant or proposal writing, marketing, and/or nonprofits a plus
To apply: Please submit resume & cover letter to: Amanda Edmonds, Executive Director at [log in to unmask]. Open until filled.
Policy Program Organizer, Organic Farming Research Foundation
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posted: August 31, 2010
Application Deadline: September 21, 2010
Competitive salary and retirement and health benefits for non-profit
position in Central California. This is a full-time, exempt position
located in Santa Cruz, CA.
OFRF seeks a Policy Program Organizer (PPO) to develop and implement
OFRF's grassroots advocacy strategy to effect policy change, primarily
at the federal level. An integral member of the policy team, the PPO
ensures that organic family farmers participate in the policy process.
OFRF is gearing up for its 2012 Farm Bill campaign, and the PPO will be
responsible for building our national network and strategically engaging
organic family farmers throughout the farm bill debate. The Policy
Program Organizer is a full-time, exempt position based in Santa Cruz,
CA -- the heart of organic farming country with access to several
farmers' markets, fine art and music venues, quality restaurants, the
Pacific Ocean, and redwood forests.
- Develop and
implement the grassroots organizing strategy to complement and forward
OFRF's policy platform, under the supervision of the Senior Policy
- Work with OFRF staff as appropriate to ensure synergistic impact of achieving OFRF's strategic goals.
- Coordinate, manage, and build OFRF's network of more than 2,500 organic farmer advocates.
- Work with and mobilize a network of grass-top partners and
organic advocacy organizations at the regional and state levels.
Identify and work with farmer advocates in key states, regions, and
Congressional districts on specific tactics to advance OFRF's policy
goals and agenda.
- Plan farmer advocate trainings, workshops, and Washington, D.C.,
- Congressional office visits.
In coordination with OFRF's Communications team, produce action alerts,
policy updates, presentations, and other written educational materials
to be posted on OFRF's website and/or circulated to our grassroots
network and partner grass-top groups.
- Represent OFRF at grower conferences and meetings.
- Maintain and update policy contacts in OFRF's database.
- Oversee a seasonal intern.
- Some travel, weekends, and evenings as necessary.
please send a resume, cover letter, the contact information for three
references, and three short, advocacy related writing samples (no more
than two pages each) to [log in to unmask]
with "Policy Program Organizer Application" in the subject line.
Electronic applications only. Incomplete applications will not be
- Minimum three years organizing experience on public policy campaigns and online organizing experience strongly desired.
- Experience developing and implementing grassroots advocacy campaigns and strategies
- Experience developing communications and written products for grassroots advocacy
- Excellent writing, speaking, and communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Experience working with and coordinating electronic grassroots advocacy networks
- Experience working with and as part of national coalitions
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, under pressure, and with shifting priorities
- Working knowledge of the federal policy process, with
background in federal agriculture and/or environmental policy preferred
- Experience with HTML editing software, databases, and email marketing software preferred
- Bachelor's degree preferred
- Experience working on a farm or with farmers preferred
considered. No phone calls please.
Policy Intern, Organic Farming Research Foundation
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posted: August 30, 2010
Application Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis until
position is filled.
Compensation: Modest stipend
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) seeks a Policy Intern to
support our policy program activities in our Washington, D.C., office.
This fall, OFRF is gearing up for its 2012 Farm Bill campaign, and the
Policy Intern will be responsible for certain policy-oriented research
projects relevant to the development of that campaign. Additionally, the
Policy Intern will support general policy program activities and have
the opportunity to attend meetings, events, and hearings on Capitol
Hill, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and at other agencies.
- Interest in organic agriculture policy
- Strong writing and analytical skills
- Good research skills
- Ability to complete assignments
- Self-motivated and ability to work independently
- Basic knowledge of public policy process
- Understanding of expectations of a professional work environment
To apply, please send a cover letter, a resume, and a writing sample to [log in to unmask]
with "Policy Intern Application" in the subject line. Electronic
applications only. No phone calls please. Incomplete applications will
not be considered.
Opportunities for Farmers
Organic Cost Share Application Due September 15, 2010
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.
To qualify for this cost-share program, organic growers must be
certified by a USDA accredited organic certification agency. The program
authorizes a payment of 75% of the certification costs, up to $750.
Growers must provide a copy of their organic certification dated between
October 1, 2009 and September 15, 2010, and a receipt for payment for
certification. MOFFA will confirm these documents with organic
certifiers, then send the check for a percentage of the cost of
certification to those applicants who qualify.
How to apply: Michigan farmers can apply by
accessing the application form through www.michiganorganic.msu.edu or the MOFFA web site (www.MOFFA.org) or
calling MOFFA to have an application sent to you (248-262-6826). The
deadline for applications September 15, 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.
2010 Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals
DEADLINE for PROPOSALS: December 2, 2010
farmer/rancher or group of farmers/ranchers who farm or operate a ranch
in the North Central Region may apply. The North Central Region
consists of 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and
has allocated about $400,000 for the 2010 Farmer/Rancher Grant Program.
Competitive grants of up to $6,000 are available for individual farmers
and ranchers, and grants up to $18,000 are available for groups of
three or more farmers from separate operations who are interested in
exploring sustainable agriculture. NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grants
provide opportunities for farmers and ranchers to use Sustainable
Agriculture practices and their own innovative ideas to solve problems
on the farm or ranch, and to share their ideas with others.
the start of the Farmer/Rancher Grant Program in 1992, over 700 grants
have been awarded to farmers and ranchers studying topics such as
holistic management, rotational grazing, livestock and crop production
systems, waste management, weed control, alternative uses for CRP land,
biological weed and pest control, organic farming, marketing, quality of
life issues, water quality, and soil conservation.
HOW: Download grants application at http://sare.org/ncrsare/prod.htm.
For more information or to receive a hard copy or e-mail file of the application, contact:
North Central Region SARE
c/o Lincoln University
900 Leslie Blvd, South Campus Bldg, Rm 101
Jefferson City MO 65101
Email: [log in to unmask]
New One-time Market Opportunity in Grand Rapids Michigan
10 vendors from the extended Grand Rapids area to sell at festival!
Saturday, October 2nd, Calvin College in Grand Rapids is putting on a
food-themed festival where primarily students of all classes at Calvin,
as well as faculty, staff, and Grand Rapids community members come
together to engage in conversation about food. The focus is specifically
on promoting just and local food choices.
part of this festival is a mini-farmers market brought to campus, and
currently, there is a need for 10 vendors from the extended Grand Rapids
area to sell their product at this festival. This will be the third
year, which has in the past been quite successful and a lot of fun. It
gives many first-time farmers market shoppers exposure to this type of
shopping, and will give vendors exposure to a great pool of potential
customers. So by participating, you will not only make some sales, but
also make a difference in the lives of students by taking part in their
education on just and local consumption patterns.
you are a farm or other farmers market vendor from the West Michigan
area and interested in more information on participating in this unique,
fun event, please contact Emma at [log in to unmask].
Gotta Farm in Akron, OH is for lease
Franchis of Gotta Farm are moving to California at the end of the
month. Ben has seasonal work on an organic farm, and Nika will be
setting up her bread business at their new location.
Farm is for lease. They are renters, and the property is managed
through Century 21 Twin Oaks. They have six months left on the lease. It
would be ideal if they could find someone to take over the lease, and
take over the nascent farming operation.
property consists of: 2-bedroom house, 2 full baths, nice kitchen,
fireplaces upstairs and downstairs, hardwood floors in living/dining
area and hall, picture windows overlooking property, walk-out basement
level with den/office area and 2-car garage. House is electric heat
(heat pump) and central air. Possibility of supplementing with wood
acres with small barn (formerly for 2 horses) with electricity and
water line, about half an acre front and side yard, huge yard behind
with 2 garden spots, one 36'x36' fenced, the other 25x50 unfenced (yes,
the deer ate everything). 1 acre+ of woods, much in ravine land. Most of
the property is surrounded by Sand Run metro park's Schumacher Run
area.. Great hiking and mushrooming in the woods. Plenty of room for
chickens and rabbits. Facilities sufficient for 2 sheep, subject to
Akron Health Dept. permit.
rent is $900/mo plus utilities. The electric bill averages about $300 a
month, but that includes Nika's commercial bread baking, large freezer,
second fridge, and our grown kids coming over to do their laundry :)
Akron City water/sewer/trash is another $75 a month. There is no gas
service available here.
The property is at 1666 Cuyahoga Street, Akron, OH 44313. Please give Ben a call at 330-920-1115 for more info.
Events for Organic Farmers and Enthusiasts
4th Annual D-Town Harvest Festival
When: September 25, 2010, from 12-6 p.m.
Where: D-Town Farm - 2 acre model urban farm located in Rouge Park in Northwestern Detroit.
Come hear keynote speaker: Andrea King Collier. She has been writing
and speaking about health and health policy issues for the past 20
years. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times,
The Lansing State Journal and the Post-Tribune. Also enjoy:
- Free Health Screenings
- Children’s Activities
- Hands-on Learnshops
- Farm Tours
- Buy Fresh Local Food
How: Cost: Free of Charge. For more information visit: http://detroitblackfoodsecurity.org/ or call (313)-300-4347.
Homegrown Festival 2010 at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market
When: Saturday September 11, 2010, from 6-11 p.m.
Where: Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Come celebrate Ann Arbors Food, farms and community! Chefs are working
with nearby farms to create affordable tasting portions of the best of
our region's harvest. There will be dozens of local libations (beer,
wine, mead and hard cider) for grown-ups to enjoy. Project Grow will be
back with their astounding heirloom tomato tasting - over 50 varieties
to try. Other attractions include kids activities include mural arts
and music-making, a huge silent auction, a "Know Your Farmer" farm
stand, dozens of artisan vendors, and a fantastic lineup of music.
How: Entry to the Festival is FREE, and food and drink are available to purchase. For more information on the festival visit: http://www.homegrownfestival.org/program.
2010 Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference
When: November 1-3, 2010
Where: Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont
Why: Come celebrate farm women's accomplishments and help us set the stage for further success.
The conference will feature:
- Farm-based workshops and tours.
- Intensive skill-building sessions.
- Engaging speakers and practical workshops.
- Small-group, round table discussions with other farmers.
- Locally grown food that showcases the bounty of the season.
Registration opens September 7. Cost: Range between $100 and $150,
depending on the conference options you select. Early registration
discounts are available through September 30. Sign up to receive email
updates about the conference at: http://www.uvm.edu/wagn/?Page=conference/updates.html&SM=conference/sub-menu.html. Visit www.uvm.edu/wagn
and click on "2010 Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference" in the
green "Quick Links" box for more information. For questions, please
email [log in to unmask].
Making it in Michigan specialty food show and conference
When: October 26, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: The Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI
This is the one day that every entrepreneur, producer, buyer and
processor in food and agricultural businesses needs to attend. In the
morning come hear keynote speaker Harvey Hartman, Founder,
Chairman & CEO of The Hartman Group, Inc. Harvey is a
nationally recognized expert on American cultural change and the
consumer activities that impact daily business products
and services. Product Center awards will be presented to those
succeeding in product development. In the afternoon breakout sessions
learn how to market, develop, and make your product safe. The day
concludes with a Marketplace Trade show giving participants an
opportunity for one-on-one time with the Product Center Team and
business development resource providers.
How: Cost: $60 per person Registration includes continental breakfast and walking lunch during Trade Show. Register online: http://web2.canr.msu.edu/product/registration.cfm
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