*Michigan** Organic Listserv*

*October, 9, 2010*

*Upcoming Events of Interest*

* *

*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.

*Teacher Training Workshops on Implementing the Fresh from the Farm Program*


*When:* October 14-16, 2010

 *Where:* Columbia College, 8th Floor (Room 801 B&C), 1104 S. Wabash,
Chicago, IL 60605

*Why:* The Fresh from the Farm program consists of three sessions. Session
one (Oct. 14), gives an introduction to the Fresh Farm Program. Session two
(Ocy.150, takes teachers out into Chicago’s largest school garden to learn
how to plan and implement their own school garden. Session three (Oct. 16),
gives teachers an opportunity to take a field trip to a local organic farm.
Teachers will take away key knowledge about growing healthy foods. There is
an optional Fresh from the Farm classroom observation. This gives teachers a
first hand look at the Fresh from the Farm lesson being implemented.

Educators will become certified to teach Fresh from the Farm after
completing this three-part workshop series, where they will learn from
registered dieticians, gardeners, and wellness educators.

*How:* Cost: $100.00 total for all three sessions, including optional
observation day. To register for Fresh from the Farm workshops or for more
information, please contact Melissa Tobias or Cindy Gapinski. Mail, fax or
attach the Registration Form (found at
with payment to:

Cindy Gapinski

Seven Generations Ahead

642 S. Lombard Ave., 2nd floor

Oak Park, IL 60304

Fax: 708.660.9913

Email: [log in to unmask]

* *


*Space is limited so register early for Food Safety Alliance guest speaker
Joel Ortiz, R.S., from Whole Foods Market


*When:* Friday, October 15, 2010, from, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

*Where:* Lansing, MI

*Why:* Joel Ortiz, R.S., from Whole Foods Market will provide an overview of
Whole Foods' small supplier food safety program they use to evaluate,
educate, and support small suppliers.

How:* This presentation is open to anyone interested, but and *RSVP is
required and space is limited**.* Register by emailing [log in to unmask] or
call (517) 373-9730.

 *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

*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.

How: *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

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

*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

*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.

*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:

   - Fruit and vegetable commodities
   - Greenhouse production and marketing
   - Farm marketing ideas and issues
   - General topics of special interest to growers

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.


*News for Organic Farmers*

*Dodder: A potential new weed problem*

Recently, the parasitic weed dodder was found in a Michigan field that was
frost seeded to clover. Dodder (Cuscuta spp.) is a parasitic weed that is
rarely found in Michigan. This annual plant is a true parasitic weed that
extracts water, nutrients, and carbohydrates from the host plant. Dodder
resembles orange or yellow “string” that grows extensively across and around
affected plants (Photo 1 visit:
Dodder reproduces by seed that develops in small clusters of white to pink
flowers that are reported to show up early in the spring. This hard coated
seed has been reported to survive in the soil for up to 60 years. When the
seed germinates, it produces an ineffective root that can only support the
dodder seedling for a couple of days. Seedling survival is dependent on the
availability and proximity (within 1 to 3 inches) of a host plant. Upon
germination, dodder seedlings are in search of suitable hosts. When in
contact with a host, the dodder seedlings coil counter-clockwise around the
host plant (Photo 2 visit: Dodder
then produces small sucking appendages known as “haustoria” that penetrate
the host plant to extract water, nutrients and carbohydrates from that host,
the small initial root of dodder than dies. It has been reported that dodder
can grow up to three inches per day, continually producing new haustoria
that drain nutrients from the host plant. Dodder infestations can reduce
yield and weaken host plants making them more susceptible to other pests and
diseases that may eventually kill the host.

Dodder has many crop hosts including: clover, alfalfa, sugarbeet, soybean,
dry bean, potato, and tomato to name a few. Several broadleaf weeds have
also been reported to be hosts of dodder. Grass species including corn have
been reported to be non-hosts. Once dodder is identified in a field, it
should be quickly removed before it produces seed. We have little experience
with control of dodder, since it is a relatively rare occurrence in
Michigan. Glyphosate has been reported to provide some control of dodder;
however, this has been reported when glyphosate has killed the host plant.
In searching the literature, I haven’t been able to find out how control of
dodder is in Roundup Ready (glyphosate-resistant) crops, when the crop is
able to tolerate glyphosate applications. If you find dodder in any of your
fields this fall or next spring, please contact your local extension agent
of myself at [log in to unmask]

*Source: Field Crops CAT Alert September 23, 2010 Christy Sprague, Crop and
Soil Sciences. View article online at: visit:*

*Information About New "Cottage Food" Law*


This new law exempts a "cottage food operation" from the licensing and
inspection provisions of the Food Law of 2000. A "cottage food operation" is
defined as a person who produces or packages a "non-potentially hazardous"
food (such as baked goods, jams, jellies, candy, snack foods, cereal,
granola, dry mixes, vinegar, or dried herbs) in a home kitchen (the kitchen
of the person's primary domestic residence). A cottage food operation would
still have to comply with the labeling, adulteration, disclosure, and other
provisions found in the Food Law, as well as other applicable state or
federal laws, or local ordinances. Select the links below for more
information about Cottage Foods in Michigan.

*Cottage Food FAQ's***

*What are Cottage Foods? *Specific types of foods that you manufacture in
the kitchen of your single family domestic residence.

*What does a single family domestic residence include? *This is the place
where you live, whether you own the home or are renting. So an apartment,
condominium or a rental home all could be a single family domestic
residence. It does not include group or communal residential settings, such
as group homes, sororities or fraternities.

*What types of Cottage Foods can I produce in my home? *Non-potentially
hazardous foods that do not require time and/or temperature control for
safety. For examples visit under the organic
marketing tab.

*What types of Cottage Foods are NOT ALLOWED to be produced in my
home? *Potentially
hazardous foods that require time and/or temperature control for safety. For
examples visit under the organic marketing tab.

*Are pet treats included under the Cottage Food Law? *

No- the Cottage Food Law applies to human grade food only. For more
information about pet treat licensing, please visit **.

*How do I sell my Cottage Foods? *You may sell your Cottage Foods directly
to the consumer at farmers’ markets, farm stands, roadside stands and
similar venues. The key is you are selling it directly to the consumer. You
cannot sell your Cottage Foods to a retailer for them to resell or to a
restaurant for use or sale in the restaurant. You cannot sell your Cottage
Foods over the internet, by mail order, or to wholesalers, brokers or other
food distributors who will resell the Cottage Foods.

*Why can’t I sell my Cottage Foods to my favorite restaurant or grocery
store? *The Michigan Food Law Cottage Food amendments do not allow this.
Because the kitchen is unlicensed and not inspected, the safe food handling
practices are not evaluated by any food safety official. Since the safe food
handling practices are not being evaluated, the food is not considered an
approved source for use in a restaurant or grocery store. Also, it is not
possible for the final consumer to discuss your food safety practices with
you, as you would not be selling or serving the product to the consumer.

*Do I have to put a label on my Cottage Foods? *Yes, you are required to
label your Cottage Foods. To see an example visit under the organic marketing tab.

*What does allergen labeling as specified in federal labeling requirements
mean? *It means you must identify if any of your ingredients are made from
one of the following food groups: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, fish
(including shellfish, crab, lobster or shrimp) and tree nuts (such as
almonds, pecans or walnuts). So if you have an ingredient made with a wheat
based product, you have two options:

1. Include the allergen in the ingredient list. For example, a white bread
with the following ingredient listing: whole wheat flour, water, salt and
yeast. In this example the statement Whole Wheat Flour, meets the
requirements of federal law.

2. Include an allergen statement (“Contains:”) after the ingredient list.
For example a white bread, with the following ingredients: whole wheat
flour, water, sodium caseinate, salt and yeast. Contains wheat and milk.

*Are there any special requirements for tree nuts labeling for allergens? *Yes,
if your Cottage Food has tree nuts as an ingredient you must identify which
tree nut you are using. For example, if you made the following product: Nut
Bread, an acceptable ingredient list would be: wheat flour, water, almonds,
salt, yeast. The following would not be acceptable: flour, water, nuts,
salt, yeast.

*Are there any other limits I need to know about Cottage Foods? *Yes, you
are limited in the amount of money you can make selling Cottage Foods -
which is $15,000 gross sales annually per household.

*Can I make the Cottage Food products in an outbuilding on my property, like
a shed or a barn? *No, the law requires the Cottage Food products be made in
your kitchen and stored in your single family domestic residence. Approved
storage areas include the basement and attached garage of the home where the
food is made.

*Will I need to meet my local zoning or other laws? *Yes, the Cottage Food
exemption only exempts you from the requirements of licensing and routine
inspection by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Updated 7/26/10 Page 4
of 4

*What oversight does the Michigan Department of Agriculture have over my
Cottage Food operation? *Cottage Food operations are considered to be food
establishments, but will not have to meet most requirements outlined in the
Michigan Food Law. In all cases, food offered to the public in Michigan must
be safe and unadulterated, regardless of where it is produced. As a Cottage
Food Operator, it is your responsibility to assure the food you make is
safe. In the event a complaint is filed or a foodborne illness is linked to
your food, the Michigan Department of Agriculture will investigate your
operations as part of our responsibility under the Michigan Food Law. As
part of that investigation, it may be necessary for the Michigan Department
of Agriculture to enter and inspect your Cottage Food production and storage
areas, view and copy records, and take photos during the course of a
complaint investigation. The Michigan Department of Agriculture also has the
right to seize product suspected of being adulterated, order corrections of
label violations, or require you to discontinue making unapproved products.

*Are there any additional requirements regarding my home on-site well or
sewage system? *

No, although annually testing your well for coliforms and nitrates is
recommended. Contact your local health department for sampling containers
and directions.

*Does my equipment, stove and/or refrigerator need to be NSF (a food
equipment evaluation group) approved? *As a Cottage Food operator, you would
not be required to meet NSF standards for your equipment used to manufacture
the Cottage Food product.

*Can I bake bread in a wood fired oven? *Yes, as long as that oven is in
your home kitchen.

*Do I need to have a DBA for the Cottage Food law? *A DBA (Doing Business
As) may be a requirement of your county or local municipality; you should
contact your *county offices *to determine if a DBA is appropriate for you.

 *When are Cottage Food products subject to sales tax? *The Cottage Food
amendments are to the Michigan Food Law. The amendments do require that the
Cottage Food Operators meet all other provisions of law regarding
businesses, including tax law. MDA recommends that you contact the Michigan
Department of Treasury for further information on what food products are
considered taxable. Their website is available through this link, *Contact

In general, sales tax is not charged on prepackaged foods that are not for
immediate consumption.

If you have additional questions, please contact *[log in to unmask]*;
please include your zip code in your request

Visit the Michigan Organic Farm Exchange
<>under the marketing tab for information
on *Cottage Food FAQ’s* and the *Cottage Food Labeling Guide. *

*Action Alert: Organic Hops*

When is organic beer not really organic? Nearly always right now-and the
situation may quickly get worse. The issue is hops, one of the central
ingredients in beer. It's a little-known fact that "certified organic" beer
can be brewed with non-organic hops, owing to a USDA ruling made in 2007.
That ruling is currently up for review by the National Organic Standards
Board (NOSB), but one of their committees has voted unanimously to continue
it, and their recommendation is likely to stand unless consumers and organic
 comment period that runs through October 12-or in person at the USDA
hearings in Madison October 25-27 (details below).

When the original ruling was made in 2007, there were not enough organic
hops in cultivation to supply the needs of American brewers. That is no
longer the case. Progressive large-scale family farms in Washington and
small, local growers around the country have planted organic hops-even
though there is practically no market for them, since brewers have economic
incentives to use cheaper, non-organic hops in their beers. Those acres will
expand if the NOSB rules change. They are likely to disappear if the policy

Changing the rules would benefit consumers, farmers, and the environment.
Currently, consumers are paying a premium for "organic" beer that is not
really organic, and few of them know they are being deceived. That's not
right. Changing the rules will mean changes on farms as well. Conventionally
grown hops require large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, pesticide, and
herbicide. Progressive larger-scale growers I've talked to use their 10-acre
organic plots to learn lessons about sustainability that they apply to the
1000s of acres they now grow conventionally. Meanwhile, small, local organic
hop farmers will be given real opportunities to carve out niche markets with
microbreweries that continue to crop up, interested in buying local and
supporting sustainable. From Vermont to Michigan and Wisconsin, and from
Colorado to California and the Pacific Northwest, locally grown organic hops
are on the verge of establishing themselves at this moment.  The NOSB ruling
will help determine whether they die on the vine, perhaps carrying the small
farmers with them.

With a two-year phase-in period for the rule change-good for growers and
brewers alike-we would see no disruptions in the current organic beer market
and usher in an important change that needs to happen. Large and small
brewers alike would have the opportunity to work with farmers and ask them
to plant all the varieties of hops that are currently making this a great
moment for American beer. If  II  If  that were to happen, organic consumers
would no longer be deceived, large and smaller farms would advance
sustainable agricultural practices, and organic beer would become truly
organic. It's a win-win-win situation.
There is still time to overturn the NOSB committee's unwise decision and
convince the USDA to make this very sensible rule change.* Please take a few
minutes to weigh in with a brief comment registering your opinion as a
consumer, environmental or food advocate, farmer, brewer, or retailer. Given
the facts of the case, we have a good chance to overturn the decision if we
can weigh in with numbers and reasoned positions. (If you
would like to learn more about organic hops, visit the very fine website of
the American Organic Hops Growers Association:

*How Can You Weigh In?*

*Written comments:* *Submit by Tuesday, October 12*  via
Please identify Document Number AMS-NOP- 10-0068; NOP-10-08.

If you would like to access previous postings to the Mich-Organic listserv you can copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar