Michigan Organic Listserv

October, 22, 2010


Vegetable 201: Ready to take the next step? Deadline Approaching!

When: November 4, 2010, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Where: Kalamazoo Holiday Inn West, 2747 South 11th Street

Why: This one-day workshop is intended for those who have some experience with vegetable gardening and have explored or considered turning it into a commercial venture, or for those who would like to add a vegetable enterprise to an existing farm business.

This program will provide a general overview of commercial vegetable production and resources to help you succeed.

How: Cost: $50 per person pre-registration required, deadline October 29. Fee includes resource packet, lunch and snacks. Download registration form at under the event tab.


Making it in Michigan Specialty Food Show and Conference

October 26, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Where: The Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI

Why: This conference will help you decide if and how to grow your agriculture business. It is a great place to connect with others who have succeeded in creating and marketing an agricultural sourced products, such as spices, teas, salsas, tortilla chips, Michigan Great Lakes fish, and beans.  If you have a product you think would be a value to Michigan’s marketplace then this is the place to check out this possibility.

Cost: $60 per person   Registration includes continental breakfast and walking lunch during Trade Show.  Register online and visit


 FREE! No-Till Farm Tour: Farmers can learn about the benefits of using cover crops and manure with no-till


When: October 27, 2010, from 10 a.m. - noon

Where: Blight Farm, 11705 24 Mile Road, Albion, MI 49224

Why: This is a free plot tour to see first-hand how nutrients from manure applications can be captured, held and recycled to the following season. During the tour associate professor Tim Harrigan in the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering will demonstrate the slurry seeding method and discuss past research.

Ken Blight who is the tour host and hog and beef producer, and Doug Bloom, a Coldwater, Mich., dairy producer, will discuss their success in using rye cover crops in combination with manure to decrease manure runoff and capture manure liquids and nutrients. This practice enables them to reduce their purchased nitrogen inputs in the following season.

Roberta Osborne, MSU Extension regional dairy educator, will outline the feed value qualities of rye for dairy cows.  Natalie Rector, MSU Extension nutrient management educator, will provide how-to basics of manure and cover crops.  Dean Baas, a visiting research associate at the Kellogg Biological Station, an MSU facility that is part of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station network, will show farmers how they can use a new cover crop database to select the one that meets their goals.  

Funding for this project came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grants program. 

How: For more information contact Rector at [log in to unmask] or 269-967-6608. No registration is necessary.

Learn Hoophouse Technology at D-Town Farm, Deadline Approaching!

When: October 30-31, 2010

Where: D-Town Farm, a two-acre organic farm operated by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and located at Rouge Park on W. Outer Drive between Plymouth and W. Chicago in Detroit.

Why: D-Town Farm is one of Growing Power's eight Regional Outreach Training Centers in the U.S., and provides periodic lectures, workshops and hands-on training experiences in urban agriculture and food security.

This two-day workshop will include construction of a 30' x 96' hoophouse at D-Town Farm and a lecture by Mr. Allen (Will Allen, a McArthur Fellow and founder of Growing Power, Inc of Milwaukee) on hoophouse technology. Participants will be able walk away prepared to build their own hoophouse for year-round food production.

Activities on Saturday, October 30 will begin at 9:00am and conclude at 6:00pm, with a lecture and powerpoint presentation by Mr. Allen at 12:00pm. Activities on Sunday, October 31 will begin at 9:00am and conclude at 2:00pm. Lunch on both days is included with the cost of registration. Participants are encouraged to wear work clothes (and bring a battery operated drill if they have one). The 30' x 96' hoophouse that will be constructed as part of this workshop will be built from a hoophouse kit, which will simplify the construction process for do-it-yourself'ers who plan to use what they learn during the workshop to build their own hoophouse.

How: Registration is now OPEN! The deadline for advanced registration is Wednesday, October 27, 2010. Advance registration is only $60.00 per person for this two-day workshop and learning experience and includes lunch for both days. Registrations received after October 27 is $75.00 per person. Payments can be made in person or by mail at 3800 Puritan, Detroit, MI 48238. Registration via Paypal will be available shortly.

If you'd like to register in person, the DBCFSN offices are open Mondays 9am-4pm and Tuesdays-Fridays 9am-6pm. Please make checks and money orders payable to Detroit Black Community Food Security Network or DBCFSN.

Please call Ebony Roberts at (313) 345-3663 for questions or to register in person.

 10th Annual Iowa Organic Conference

When: November 21 - 22, 2010

Where: Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa

Why: This year's Iowa Organic Conference will feature:

How: Read the full brochure and access registration information.

Source: New Agriculture Network,


The 2010 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo

When: December 7-9, 2010

Where: DeVos Place Convention Center, Grand Rapids, MI

Why: The EXPO offers informative education programs for fruit, vegetable and greenhouse growers, and for farm marketers. This year there is 63 sessions and workshops over 3 days.

Topics include:

Along with the numerous educational programs a Trade Show is offered during the EXPO. This includes 400 exhibitors covering four acres of exhibit space in one hall. To see list of exhibitors visit:

How: Register on-line or download the EXPO registration form at Pre-register by November 12 to save money.


2010 Integrated Crop and Pest Management Update


When: December 17, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Where: Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education, 4301 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824

Why: This educational program is intended for agribusiness, pesticide sales and service professionals, crop consultants, field crop educators and farmers. Participants will be provided with current recommendations for potential pest problems, fertilizer practices, the 2011 MSU Weed Control Guide, and other insect and disease publications. The day includes a review of the 2010 season and a discussion of the 2011 recommendations. MSUE specialists will be on hand to answer participants’ questions. Participants will receive MDA and CCA pesticide re-certification credits at this session.      


How: Cost: $50 per person and includes refreshments, lunch, the 2011 MSU Weed Control Guide and other insect and disease publications. The deadline for registration and payment is December 10. After the deadline, the registration fee is $60. Registration forms may be downloaded from

Registrations can be mailed to:

Eaton County MSU Extension

551 Courthouse Drive, Suite 1

Charlotte, Mich. 48813-1047

or faxed to 517-543-8119.

For more information, please call the Eaton County MSU Extension Office at 517-543-2310.

 Challenges of Growing Fruits and Vegetables in Plastic Tunnels- Five Part Webinar Series

In cold climates such as Michigan, gardeners and growers have had success with lengthening the growing season in spring and fall by using row covers, low tunnels and various types of greenhouses. More recently, a trend towards buying local has lead some producers to explore on-farm winter storage as well as the production of fresh greens that survive and thrive in these structures during the winter. High-tunnel production can lengthen the growing season and provide producers with a means to enter the market earlier with high value crops. This has the potential to expand the availability of healthy locally grown crops. In addition, in several states, including Michigan, there are incentive dollars available to growers who would like to try high tunnel production systems.

Pest problems and their management in greenhouses and high tunnels are different than field grown fruits and vegetables, and an understanding of those differences is needed to capitalize on early and late season markets. Soil, water and nutrient management are also unique to these systems and markets for these crops need to be developed and well understood. MSU Extension would like to invite interested growers to a webinar series sponsored by the Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group, the University of Illinois Extension, and a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development grant. These programs include five 1-2 hour webinars produced on November 1, 3, 8, 16, and 18. You can view the webinars at home via your computer.

Webinar One (November 1, 6:30-8:30 PM) will provide an overview of season extension methods and economics and weed, insect and disease control.

Webinar Two
(November 3, 6:30-8:30 PM) will address production systems for tomatoes and related crops, cultural, organic and other pest control methods as well as grafting techniques.

Webinar Three
(November 8, 6:30-8:30 PM) will include an overview of winter crop production systems including a discussion of economics, sanitation, plastic management, production sequences, crop selection, sanitation for a simple hoophouse, greenhouse, in-ground, in container, row covers, and low tunnels. Pest management and storage will also be discussed.

Webinar Four is titled “Management of Nutrients, Water, Soil, and Other Production Considerations in High Tunnels” and will be broadcast November 16 at a different time than the previous three webinars. This will be a brown-bag lunch webinar airing from 1:00-2:00 PM. The first 50 participants or organizations to include webinar four as part of their registration, will receive a free copy of the “High Tunnel Production Manual”published by Penn State.

Webinar Five is titled “Interpreting NRCS High Tunnel Project Guidelines.” This will also be a brown-bag lunch webinar on November 18 from 1:00-2:00 PM and will clarify the support available through the EQIP program.

For people who do not have a fast internet broadband connection, or would prefer to watch the webinar on a larger screen, with other interested persons, (and refreshments), Genesee County MSU Extension will be hosting the series at our office at 4215 W. Pasadena, Flint, MI 48504.  MSU Educator Terry McLean will host this webinar series at the Genesee MSUE Office, and MSU Hoophouse Outreach Specialist Adam Montri will be our hoophouse expert to answer questions in person after the Tuesday November 16 Webinar Four session, and we plan to have a local NRCS staffer present for Webinar Five on November 18 to answer any questions regarding the NRCS High Tunnel Project Guidelines.

How: To register for the webinar series at the Genesee MSUE Office, contact Debbie Clark at [log in to unmask], 810-244-8512.  (We can accept checks, cash or money orders for payment at the MSUE Office). Pre-registration for this webinar series is mandatory and can be found at The cost for the series is $30 whether you attend one or all five webinars. Each webinar will be recorded and available on several state IPM or vegetable oriented websites for viewing soon after its original airdate.
For more information, please check out:

Source: Article by Hannah Stevens, MSU Extension Educator, found at

FREE! Seed Saving on the Farm Workshop

When: November 1, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Where: Michigan Works Conference Room, 1209 Garfield, Traverse City, MI

Why: The Michigan Land Use Institute’s Get Farming! program is presenting a workshop on seed saving for farmers and gardeners. The workshop will feature an informal session with a panel of growers with seed-saving and plant-breeding experience. 


The Michigan Land Use Institute is an independent, nonprofit research, educational, and service organization founded in 1995. More than 2,400 households, businesses, and organizations have joined the Institute in support of its mission to establish an approach to economic development that strengthens communities, enhances opportunity, and protects Michigan's unmatched natural resources.


How: For information or to pre-register contact Jim Sluyter, 231-941-6584ext15 or [log in to unmask]


The 12th annual Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, Walking the Walk: Bold Steps Toward a Regional Food System

When: January 22, 2011


Where: Grayling High School, Grayling MI.


Why: The conference serves as a vehicle to promote and build a local vibrant agriculture community, to equip the small farm community with the tools to be successful, and to be a forum for the open exchange of ideas within the small farm community.


Possible sessions of interest:

How: Registration deadline is January 23, 2010 (Registration includes Saturday Keynote, sessions, lunch and breaks) Cost: $45 for 1st person, each additional person in the $30, and youth is $15. Sorry NO REFUNDS - Late or Walk In Registration will be charged additional $15 per person. Registration form can be found at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference web site


THREE DAY SUSTAINABLE GROWERS SEMINAR: The knowledge you need to be successful!

When: January 4-6, 2010

Where: Comfort Inn in Chelsea, MI

Why: Come hear Dr. Phil Wheeler and Ron Ward Authors of The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook. Learn to work with Mother Nature to re-mineralize your soil and bring it to life so you can raise healthy, nutrient dense crops and livestock, while lowering costs and increasing profits.


Topics Include:


How: SEATING IS LIMITED! To reserve your seat now send $425($475 at the door) by check or CC by Dec. 1, 2010. Bring a farm family member for $225 prepaid or $275 at the door. Send payment to: CSI, 1718 Madison S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49507For More information call CSI at 1-800-260-7933 or [log in to unmask].

*MSU does not endorse any of these events, but only shares the information.



Funding Available for Research or Educational/Outreach Projects

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is pleased to announce that funding is available to fund research or education/outreach projects on any agricultural production, social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic farmers and/or ranchers. Special funding is also available for projects in the categories of organic seed quality or crop breeding thanks to a partnership with the Clif Bar Family Foundation. There are separate RFPs for research proposals and education/outreach proposals. The deadline for the spring 2011 funding cycle is November 18, 2010.

For applications visit the OFRF web site If you have questions regarding grant applications, contact Jane Sooby, OFRF's Grants Progam Director, at 831-426-6606 or by email at [log in to unmask]


NOP Releases Draft Guidance Documents for Comment

USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) has released five draft guidance documents for public comment, according to the notice published today in the Federal Register.  Comments are due by December 13, 2010, and can be submitted at

Guidance documents provide interpretations of NOP statutory and regulatory requirements in order to assist those who own, manage, or certify organic operations in complying with the regulations.  Finalized guidance documents will be included in the NOP found at

Guidance topics open for comment include:


You don’t always get what you want...but often get what you pay for! by Dave Robison, Agronomist/Seed Marketing Manager, The CISCO Companies

Over the past number of weeks I’ve noticed quite a difference in radishes growing in farmers fields.  Some are outstanding and consistent; deep and fairly large tubers (tuber girth seems to be related to fertility and age of stand).  In the thumb of Michigan I saw over 300 acres of fields planted at 10#/acre that were just what the farmer wanted.  We found most of the tubers 8-12” deep and we could not really find the real bottom of the roots as we broke them off in the soil. 

While some varieties have good tubers in other instances I have found real problems.  In a field in NE Indiana a SWCD director brought some radishes from a farmer’s field that did not look good.  The farmers planted around 100 acres of a VNS radish and he was not happy.  I don’t blame him...

Source: To see the rest of this blog and photos of the differences in the radish varieties go to:

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