Week of April 7, 2013

From the Center for Regional Food Systems & the Desk of Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])



Education & Conferences 

à Permaculture Design Certificate Course

à Detroit Food 2013: April 4-6

Agriculture News
à Farmer Veteran Coalition: Ag Leaders Join Board

à Illinois Fruit and Vegetable Newsletter

§  Good Agricultural Practices Webinar Series

§  Regional Observations

§  Vegetable Production: Hydroponics

§  Local Food: USDA Crop Insurance

§  Archived Webinars: Small Farm Series

§  2013: International Year of Water Cooperation


à SARE: Season Extension Topic Room
à MOFFA: Organic and Sustainable Farm Directory

à Michigan State Horticulture Club will be having a Plant Sale

à SPECIALTY CROP Opportunities


Grant Opportunities

à FY 2013 Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program

à Ceres Graduated Student Competitive Grant Program


Can you put a "link" in each title to let person get there immediately or is that a pain?



Permaculture Design Certificate Course

The Hunter Park Garden House, a project of Allen Neighborhood Center, in Lansing, MI, is excited to partner with Yard to Table Gardens of Austin, Texas, to offer a Permaculture Design Certificate Course this Summer 2013.


The Permaculture Design Certificate Course is an internationally recognized 72-hour course developed to empower you with the tools of Permaculture Design. Permaculture is an overarching design system based on ecological solutions, with concrete applications in the world. The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions. Anybody can apply the principles of permaculture design to their lives, and be part of creating and enacting solutions the world needs!


Permaculturists are farmers and ranchers, small business owners, city planners, architects, activists, students, homesteaders, landscapers, nursery owners, teachers, artists, and so much more! Permaculture addresses food security, housing, transportation, energy, wildlife conservation, global warming, peak oil, inequality and poverty. The sky is the limit.


This two week intensive course will cover:


§  Philosophies and Ethics of Permaculture

§  Permaculture Design Principles

§  Patterns in Nature and how to apply them to design

§  Methods of Design and Application

§  Climate Patterns for dry, temperate, and tropical regions

§  Managing elements of wind, water, and fire

§  Soil science and conservation

§  Natural building and Green Building Design, with cob, adobe, strawbale, etc

§  Urban design systems – designing permaculture into a dense community

§  Animal systems – Understanding the role of livestock and micro-livestock in the system

§  Aquaculture and Aquaponics – an introduction to the methods

§  Site Analysis and Design Project

Course Schedule: Sessions will be held daily Monday, August 12 – Saturday, August 17, and Monday, August 19 – Saturday, August 24. Session times will run from 9:00am – 4:00pm.


Location and Accommodations: The course will be held at the Foster Community Center, in Lansing's Eastside, with expeditions to various locations around town. This is a commuter course; however, home-stays may be arranged with local attendees.


Cost: The course cost is $550, with a deposit of $100. There are 5 spots being offered at a discount for students and those experiencing financial strain. For more info and to apply for the reduced cost attendance, contact Dani at [log in to unmask]


Proceeds: The proceeds from this class will, in part, go to support the work of the Hunter Park GardenHouse, a project of Allen Neighborhood Center, which serves as a hub for year-round garden education and community gathering space. The greenhouse is located in Hunter Park on Lansing’s Eastside. The Hunter Park GardenHouse’s mission is to serve as an urban agriculture resource center, where neighbors meet to grow food, flowers, and community; and where youth develop life and job skills in service to the neighborhood and their families.


For more information, and to register, visit:



Rita O'Brien

Hunter Park GardenHouse Program Director

Allen Neighborhood Center

1619 E. Kalamazoo St

Lansing, MI 48912

(517) 999-3910



Detroit Food 2013: April 4-6
Don’t miss Detroit Food 2013 on April 4-6 at Focus: HOPE sponsored by the Detroit Food Policy Council. This year’s theme is “What’s On Your Plate.” The cost is $20 for all three days and scholarships are available. The program includes a keynote address by Nikki Henderson, Executive Director, People’s Grocery in Oakland, CA and special workshops for youth on Thursday. On Friday, there will be an interactive panel discussion with residents and city leaders entitled “This is Our Land.” Saturday will feature a panel on Detroit Future City and “Celebrate Detroit Food” lunch. Uprooting Racism Planting Justice will meet at 1 p.m. on Saturday following lunch. Go to to register and see the complete program. For questions or more information, call the DFPC office at 313.833.0396 or email [log in to unmask]



Cheryl A. Simon


Detroit Food Policy Council

2934 Russell St.  Detroit, MI 48207

(313) 833-0396

[log in to unmask]





Farmer Veteran Coalition: Ag Leaders Join Board
Farmer Veteran Coalition has named its first official board of directors, uniting the agricultural community behind its nonprofit mission to help veterans.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) has announced that it has filed articles of incorporation and will seat its first official board of directors. The board is comprised of leaders from national farm organizations, academia, the military and the Farmer Veteran community. An organization dedicated to veteran assistance, FVC was started in 2009 by organic farming pioneer Michael O’Gorman and has grown into a network of veterans pursuing careers in agriculture in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition is to mobilize veterans to feed America.  It provides practical skills education, career counseling and one-on-one coaching to prepare veterans to become farmers. In addition, the organization offers the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, a small grants program that targets disabled veterans and those who have recently returned from service, assisting them to heal from service-related injuries in a productive farm environment.

The Chair of the new board is Gary Matteson, Vice President of Farm Credit Council for Young, Beginning and Small Farmers.  Farm Credit Council is the national trade association representing the Farm Credit System.  “Veterans have character and possess unique skills that they can transfer into meaningful careers in agriculture. After their sacrifice and service to our nation, veterans are continuing to serve by joining the ranks of America’s farmers,” said Matteson.

Retired Brigadier General and fourth generation Missouri farmer, Charles Kruse will serve as Vice Chair.  General Kruse served for 18 years as President of the Missouri Farm Bureau.  “As a life-long farmer and having served 26 years in the military, I am proud to be involved in an effort to help veterans become involved in Agriculture. They have stepped up and served us; now it is our turn to serve them.”

Larry Jacobs, Co-Founder and Owner of Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, one of the nation’s leading organic vegetable and fresh herb companies, and Founder and CEO of Farm Fuel LLC, will serve as Secretary.  Poppy Davis will serve as Treasurer. Ms. Davis is the past national program leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers at the USDA, where she co-founded the USDA for Veterans Reservists and Military Families workgroup.

Donn Teske, President of the Kansas Farmers Union, will serve as the Representative-at-Large to the Executive Committee. Teske is a fifth-generation family farmer from Northeast Kansas where he raises organic soybeans, grain sorghum, red clover, wheat and oats.

Board Member Stan Flemming is a retired Brigadier General, Ambassador to the United States Army Reserves, and practices medicine outside Fort Lewis, WA.  Ambassador Flemming noted that “FVC fulfills a vital role in the veteran outreach community by providing access to critical services for our men and women who serve our nation with distinction, but who reside in our rural communities where resources are typically scarce or unavailable. They deserve no less than those who reside in our urban communities.”

Other Board Members include:

§  Garrett Dwyer, cattle rancher and veteran with the US Marine Corps. Garrett received his degree in Agriculture Production at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture after returning from Iraq and now co-owns and operates a cow/calf operation on the family ranch in Bartlett, Nebraska. 

§  Dr. Bill Field, Ed.D, Purdue University, Executive Director of the National AgrAbility Project. AgrAbility was formed to help farmers with disabilities succeed in agriculture.  Many of its 27 statewide affiliates are working with combat-disabled Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans pursuing careers in farming.

§  Kathleen Hadley, Executive Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and their signature program, ATTRA. ATTRA serves as a national information service for sustainable farmingand small-scale farming ventures.

§  Tasha M. Hargrove, Ph.D., Assistant to the Dean for Outreach, College of Agriculture, at Tuskegee University, in Alabama. Dr. Hargrove is a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Agriculture Extension Education and a retired Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force Reserves.

§  Weldon Sleight, Ph.D., Dean Emeritus of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA). Dr. Sleight oversaw the school’s 100 Acre/100 Cow and Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots programs, which assists beginning farmers and military veterans with building farm ownership.

To learn more about Farmer Veteran Coalition and its commitment to veterans in transition, visit



The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is to mobilize veterans to feed America. Its farming education programs and charitable projects include a small grants program; a program to collect and distribute used farm equipment; a Resource Guide for Veteran Careers in Agriculture; an annual conference for women veterans in Agriculture; and educational, training and veteran employment assistance programs. FVC has operated as a project of Community Partners of Los Angeles since 2009 and will continue under the fiscal umbrella of Community Partners until FVC receives recognition of its tax-exempt status from the IRS sometime later this year.


Farmer Veteran Coalition


Fruit and Vegetable News
A new issue of the Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News (Volume 19, number 1) has been posted on the web. 

To reach the home page for the Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News (with links to all issues and additional resources), use the following link:


For direct access to issue 19:1, use the following link:




April 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. See the Illinois SARE calendar at



In western Illinois, soil temps have been slowly improving. As of today the 4 inch soil temp at the Monmouth Research Center was 45.9°F. As such, there has not been much going on in the fields. Strawberry growers should not remove mulch until a sustained soil temperature of at least 44 degrees is reached. Another rule of thumb is to remove the mulch from the strawberry planting when about 25 percent of the plants are producing new growth. New growth will be white or yellow in color.


Garlic is showing growth and indicating that we had a very tolerable winter for this crop. Mulch, if you are using it, can be removed to facilitate soil warming after all chances of frost are gone but should be put back on the beds later in the season to facilitate weed control and conserve moisture. Monitor the crop closely if mulch is left on in too wet of conditions, which will lead to bulb rot and other problems. Many growers (south of Champaign) are electing to not use mulch in their growing systems because of the moderation of winter soil temperatures. Those north of this location should not try this approach.


Lastly, high tunnels are full of produce and doing very well. Daily temperatures inside these structures have quickly reached the point that daily ventilation is required. For a number of crops, temperatures that are too high early on in the season will result in early bolting and an unmarketable crop. Most tunnels are full of a plethora of lettuce varieties with the most popular being Bibb and Buttercrunch.

Kyle Cecil (309-342-5108; [log in to unmask])


We have been evaluating hydroponic lettuce, tomato and strawberry production at DSAC.  We have been looking at hydroponic tomato production in both the high tunnel and greenhouse environment.  This year's greenhouse We have been evaluating hydroponic lettuce, tomato, and strawberry production at the University of Illinois Dixon Springs Agricultural Center, with hydroponic tomato production in both the high tunnel and greenhouse environments.  This year's greenhouse tomato crop was planted in December and began bearing in March.  We are evaluating 10 cultivars in a small replicated trial.  We are using Bato buckets filled with 2" of hydroton and the balance filled with perlite.  The plant growth and crop development in hydroponic systems seems to be quite accelerated.  The tomato plants are pruned to a single leader in this system, but the close spacing may allow producers to have higher populations and increased yields over traditional bed systems.  Hydroponic systems also afford growers an opportunity to start with a pathogen-free rhizosphere, which could reduce incidence of soil borne diseases such as Phytophthora, and Fusarium.  As we gather data we will publish cultivar performance in this newsletter.
Jeff Kindhart (618-695-2770; [log in to unmask])


The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) reports that USDA's Risk Management Agency will be removing the 5% premium surcharge assessed against all organic farmers seeking federal crop insurance, beginning in 2014. NSAC notes, however, that insuring individual crops may still not be the best approach for diversified organic producers, who may be better served by Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite insurance. For more information, see

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant (217-782-4617; [log in to unmask])



The 2012 and 2013 Small Farm Webinar Series has been completed.  Copies of all the following webinars are available online at



The United Nation General Assembly in its December 2010 meeting has declared 2013 as the international year of water cooperation. The objectives of this designation are to raise awareness around the world of the challenges facing water resources due to increase in demand, access, allocations, and services. It is also intended to support cross borders cooperation to develop management and equitable distribution agreements of shared water resources and to support the formation of new objectives that will lead to the development of a more sustainable water resources. The UN designated Friday, March 22nd as the International Water Day. The Netherlands is the host county for the first celebration of the World Day. Also, many countries in African and Asian celebrated this day with various events. Unfortunately very little media attention has been given to this day in the US, despite a 2012 report by the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which predicted that within the next ten years, water problems will influence the stability of many countries that impact the national security of the US. It stressed that water shortage combined with "poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions," can lead to weakness or even failure of many vulnerable governments. 


Here are some facts posted on the UN website ( explaining the root of the problem.


§  780 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.

§  Six to eight million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

§  Various estimates indicate that, based on business as usual, ~3.5 planet Earths would be needed to sustain a global population achieving the current lifestyle of the average European or North American.

§  Global population growth projections of 2–3 billion people over the next 40 years, combined with changing diets, result in a predicted increase in food demand of 70% by 2050 (Bruinsma, 2009).

§  Agriculture accounts for ~70% of global freshwater withdrawals (up to 90% in some fast-growing economies).

§  Shifting diets from predominantly starch-based to meat and dairy requires more water. Producing 1 kg of rice, for example, requires ~3,500 L of water, 1 kg of beef ~15,000 L (Hoekstra and Chapagain).


While I know very little about the politics of water in the US, there has been a long-term California-Oregon feud over the Klamath Basin, and in 2000 Colorado and five other states expressed concerns about California's use of 800,000 acre-feet of water beyond its entitlement.  The droughts of 2011 and 2012 serve as additional reminders of why we need to be a part of the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Mosbah Kushad (217-244-5691; [log in to unmask])




SARE: Season Extension Topic Room
I’m writing to inform you of a new online resource from SARE, our Season Extension Topic Room. You can find it here:


This topic room is a collection of educational materials created in connection with SARE grants, all related to season extension, mostly high tunnels. If you spend a few minutes browsing, you should get a sense for what it is and how it’s organized.


Please let me know if you have any questions about our topic room.


Take care,

Andy Zieminski

SARE Outreach

ph./fax (510) 654-4324  |

Note my new email address is [log in to unmask] Please update your address book as needed. Thanks!

MOFFA: Organic and Sustainable Farm Directory
Greetings from Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance,  


MOFFA is in the process of preparing its Guide to Michigan’s Organic and Ecologically Sustainable Growers and Farms—and it’s not too late to make sure that your farm is included.


We plan to publish the guide as a hardcopy edition as well as online at MOFFA’s website, The 2013 edition will focus solely on growers. In future editions we will add other resources — farmers’ markets, restaurants, retail outlets, distributors, suppliers, etc. While organic certification is not a steadfast requirement, we intend that all farms listed follow organic and sustainable growing practices.


To be included in the guide, you will need to submit a Grower Information Form.  This form is available:

--as a .pdf file which you may download and print

--as an interactive form which can be filled out directly on the website

--by calling 248-262-6826 to request a form be mailed to you (please leave a message with your name and address and mention the Grower Information Form)

Please invite others to join the guide — complete information is available at


We look forward to helping you promote your farm business!


Michigan State Horticulture Club will be having a Plant Sale

April 20th - 21st in the Plant and Soil Sciences Building.  Come and pick out some plants for your house or talk with some plant experts while picking up a horticulture treat or two. The conservatory, connected to the greenhouses behind the Plant and Soil Sciences Building on campus, will be landscaped with plants for sale to inspire the creative gardener in you.  


Location: Plant and Soil Sciences Building, greenhouses Date & Time: Saturday, April 20th 9am - 6pm and Sunday, April 21st 10am - 4pm. Please visit our website for an updated list of what we will have available for sale, or contact us at [log in to unmask].


SPECIALTY CROP (fruit and veggies) Opportunities

Some of you may be interested in our new on-line resource, called “SPECIALTY CROPportunities”,  which was just launched on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture website.  SPECIALTY CROPportunities was designed to assist growers considering production of a wide range of non-traditional crops, including many specialty vegetables and culinary herbs.   It has information on agronomics, marketing and pests for 100 non-traditional crops, and we plan to add more crops in the future.  While this was designed for Ontario growers, much of the information should be broadly applicable to all growers in the Great Lakes region.  


You can find it at the following link: 




FY 2013 Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is pleased to announce the release of the FY 2013 Request for Applications (RFAs) for the Regional Integrated Pest Management (RIPM) Competitive Grants Program.  The purpose of this program is to support the continuum of research and extension efforts needed to increase the implementation of IPM methods. The RIPM program supports projects that develop individual pest control tactics, integrate individual tactics into an IPM system, and develop and implement extension and education programs. The program is administered by the land-grant university system's four regional IPM Centers (North Central, Northeastern, Southern, Western) in partnership with NIFA.


Application Deadline: All RIPM Applications must be received by by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, May 16, 2013.


Note: Make certain that you are referencing the FY 2013 RIPM RFAs. From March 21-27, 2013 the RIPM RFA Funding Opportunity pages indicated that the FY 2013 RFAs had been released, but were referring to the FY 2012 RFAs in error. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.


If you have any questions related to content, contact the Contact Center:

Email: [log in to unmask]
Phone: Toll Free: 1-800-518-4726, 24 hour support, excluding Federal holidays


Useful Links:

NIFA Grant Application Information:; Help:



Funding Opportunity Number:  USDA-NIFA-RIPM-004211


NIFA Funding Opportunity Page:  This page includes links to the Request for Applications (RFA), the NIFA Application Guide, the Application Package, and Abstracts of Funded Projects. Synopsis Page:;jsessionid=TshVRbKpxBgKThb7yNgdSLQq2nvhBg2v8W4cLZGRzDHhJ21hz5Mj!457173371?oppId=228880&mode=VIEW.  This page includes a synopsis of the funding opportunity, a link to the full announcement (RFA) and the application package.


Grants Manager:  Dr. Susan T. Ratcliffe, telephone: (217) 333-9656, email: [log in to unmask]


Kathy Kimble-Day

Program Specialist

Division of Plant Systems - Protection

Institute of Food Production and Sustainability

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA

Phone: (202) 401-4420

Fax:  (202) 401-1782

Email:  [log in to unmask]   



Investing in Science | Securing our Future


Ceres Trust Graduate Student Organic Research Grants

Organic Research Initiative

Request for Applications


The Ceres Trust, a privately-administered charitable trust based in the Midwest,

has as its main focus the support and promotion of organic and sustainable agriculture.

This Request for Applications is provided for the 2013 Graduate Student Organic

Research Grants Program. This is the fourth year The Ceres Trust has offered this

annual competitive grants program.


Program Description

Up to 10 one-year grants of up to $10,000 each will be made early this summer

to support organic research by full-time graduate students (Masters and Ph.D.) enrolled

at accredited colleges and universities in the North Central Region. The grant supports

research conducted during the year ending June 30, 2014. The 12 states in the region

are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North

Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Successful applicants will be eligible to

apply and compete for a second year of funding.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is May 1, 2013. The grants award will be

announced in June and funds made available a short time later.

Vicki Morrone
Organic Farming Specialist
Center For Regional Food Systems at MSU
480 Wilson Rd. Room 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)
[log in to unmask]

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