Michigan Organic Listserv
Center for Regional Food Systems
From the Desk of Vicki Morrone-Happy New Year to all
Dec 20, 2013
What’s on Offer?
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Application deadline: December 20, 2013
EQIP helps certified organic growers and producers working to achieve organic certification install conservation practices to address resource concerns on organic operations.
Upcoming deadlines to help support Smart farming practices from USDA
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Application deadline: January 17, 2014
CSP rewards farmers and ranchers for current conservation practices and for implementing additional enhancements over a 5-year contract period. It provides funding to help operations improve the condition of their soil, water, and wildlife habitat.
December 19, 2013
FDA appreciates and takes very seriously the extensive input we have received from produce farmers and others in the agricultural sector on the proposed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules on produce safety and preventive controls for human food, which we published in January 2013. We have made every effort to solicit input on the proposed rules, not only through the standard rulemaking process, but also by participating in more than 150 meetings and by travelling to numerous farms of varying types and sizes from Maine to California. To ensure broad input and facilitate constructive dialogue with the produce community, FDA has extended the comment periods on the proposed rules three times.
Based on our discussions with farmers, the research community and other input we have received, we have learned a great deal, and our thinking has evolved. Everyone shares the goal of ensuring produce safety, but, as we said at the beginning of the process, the new safety standards must be flexible enough to accommodate reasonably the great diversity of the produce sector, and they must be practical to implement.
To achieve this goal, we believe that significant changes will be needed in key provisions of the two proposed rules affecting small and large farmers. These provisions include water quality standards and testing, standards for using raw manure and compost, certain provisions affecting mixed-use facilities, and procedures for withdrawing the qualified exemption for certain farms. We have heard the concern that these provisions, as proposed, would not fully achieve our goal of implementing the law in a way that improves public health protections while minimizing undue burden on farmers and other food producers.
Because the changes to the key provisions would be significant, FDA plans to propose revised rule language and seek comment on it, allowing the public the opportunity to provide input on our new thinking. There may be other revisions to the proposed rules; the scope of the revised proposals, on which we will seek further comment, will be determined after we complete our initial review of written comments. We believe that this additional step to seek further input on revised sections of the proposed rules that need significant adjustment is critical to fulfilling our continuing commitment to getting these rules right.
Our plan is to publish revised proposed rule language by early summer 2014. We will accept additional comments only on those sections of the proposed rules that have been revised. FDA remains under a court order regarding the timelines for finalizing these rules. FDA recognizes that completing these rules is essential to protecting the public health and is committed to completing them as quickly as possible.
It is gratifying to FDA that in our meetings around the country, we have received broad support for moving forward in implementing FSMA in a timely manner in light of its important food safety and public confidence goals. Thanks to all of you who have worked with us. We will continue this collaborative approach as we move down the pathway to final rules and to full implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in the years to come.
The team at Rodale Institute is asking farmers and extension educators to complete the following final survey for our Northeast SARE-funded cover crops project. Your responses will help us understand whether or not our presentations, workshops and field days on our farm or partner farms have been effective, and allow us to make improvements for upcoming events.
Click link below to take survey. Your input will be very helpful to Michigan State University research, seed companies, and farmers seeking best management practices. I hope that Rodale shares this data as a summary so we too in Michigan can use this information to guide us in our work.
Click this link to see and complete survey
If you have any technical difficulties, please contact Amanda at
Arctic apple GMO Apple Variety-what do you think??
comment period extended
The public comment period on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposal the genetically modified Arctic apple has been extended.
Originally set to expire Dec. 9, the USDA extended the comment period to Jan. 16.
“Technical issues” caused the extension, according to a USDA release. The Federal Register website may have not allowed comment posting, according to a USDA release. Also, links in Federal Register notices were incorrect and may have caused confusion.
Comments can be submitted online. The wwww.regulations.gov website has logged more than 2,200 comments.
An overwhelming majority of the public comments were running against non regulated status for the biotech, non-browning apple.
One apple industry marketer is wary of consumer perceptions of the entire category because of the Arctic apple.
“My overall sense is that we need to send very clear messages to the buying public,” said Keith Mathews, chief executive officer of FirstFruits Marketing of Washington LLC, Yakima, Wash.
Mathews said he was on the sales staff of an apple shipper in 1989, selling to Safeway, when the CBS “60 Minutes” news program highlighted the use of Alar on apples. During that time, even retailers who displayed signs that apples were not treated with Alar paid a big price in lost sales. In fact, those apples that had signs declaring no Alar was applied struggled more than the same apples with no sign.
“The consumer base doesn’t clearly understand these issues and when it gets to technical science of GMO or not GMO and how apples and other products are brought to market, they will not have clarity,” he said. “The Washington industry has zero interest in delivering to the public anything that is deemed genetically modified.”
- See more at: http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-enewsletter/Week_In_Review/Arctic-apple-comment-period-extended-234599041.html?utm_source=0341D6916023I5T&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=Packer+Week+in+Review_20131213&utm_term=apples&utm_content=#sthash.nOzTxoOh.dpuf
The USDA has extended the comment period till January 15, 2014.
Here is the link to make your comments.
This info can be useful to researchers, educators, industry professionals and others interested in vegetable grafting. Newly available resources may interest you. Specifically, presentations delivered during Vegetable Grafting Symposia held in November 2012 and November 2013 in Florida and California, respectively, were recorded. Slide set files and audio recordings of these presentations and other items from the programs are available at http://www.vegetablegrafting.org/resources/grafting-symposia/. Speakers have generously allowed for their insights to be shared widely. Viewers are asked to respect the content of the presentations as the intellectual property of the presenter. Please contact me or others responsible for vegetablegrafting.org (http://www.vegetablegrafting.org/directory/) for information about the portal.
Shared by: Matthew D. Kleinhenz, PhD Professor, Extension Specialist Vegetable Production Systems Horticulture and Crop Science The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center 122 Gourley Hall, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691-4096 phone - 330.263.3810 / FAX - 330.263.3887 http://hcs.osu.edu/vpslab and http://www.facebook.com/osuvpslab
Join us for the 15th Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference on February 1, 2014. Register before December 20 and save. TODAY!
Seeking all ag innovators-this workshop is for YOU!!
Grand Valley State University and Saginaw Valley State University have teamed up to produce a workshop on entrepreneurship focused on Innovative ideas/products in the Ag/Natural Resources sector.
If you, or someone you know, has an inventive idea/tool/technology with commercial potential, point them to www.SproutLab.org.
The 3-day Ag innovation workshop runs January 8-10 in Saginaw. It's $195, with lots of discounts available, including an early bird discount that expires tonight.
Please forward to the most inventive person you know. We're also looking for engineers, hackers, and folks with ideas that could be applied to the Ag/Natural Resource sector.
Hub Camp-This is a way to get started in organization or playing an active role in a food hub-for growers, distributers, and community developers!
If you or growers at your market are thinking about aggregating and selling to chefs, schools, grocers, hospitals, etc, we're running a "Hub Camp" training in January to help more small-scale food distribution efforts get off the ground in Michigan. The Hub Camp will be all about practical skills: expanding customer sales, logistics, operations and budgeting. Happy to answer any questions. Thanks! --Noah
The Nuts & Bolts of Local Food Distribution
Grand Rapids, MI • Wednesday – Friday, January 29 – 31, 2014
Practical training for the entrepreneurs and organizations building the New Food Economy.
Walk away from Hub Camp with a 6-month action plan to hit the ground running!
An action-oriented approach to learning, launching and adapting as you grow your local food system.
- Business Model Mapping.
- Service Design
Work through your unique challenges with farmer development, buyer education, finance, food safety, logistics, operations and storytelling.
Three hands-on days with experienced operators who have launched and managed supply chain businesses.
To maximize impact attendance is limited to 15 participants.
The Experience & Advice to Get You Going
Noah Fulmer, founder and operator of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a wholesale food hub that aggregates and delivers $2 million in produce from 60 local farmers to 120 buyers each year.
Erika Block, CEO of Local Orbit. Local Orbit supports diverse local distribution models across the country. Erika brings unique perspective on best practices and challenges within this emerging sector.
Evan Smith, Chief of Operations of Cherry Capital Foods, which distributes food from Michigan farmers to dozens of schools, grocers and restaurants. Evan also brings a wealth of experience with designing operations to maximize food safety.
Plus: Topic experts on finance & legal issues.
Local Orbit - re-linking the food chain
Dig In! edible flint Garden Starters Training Classes Available
December, 2013 Flint, MI - edible flint is preparing for their 4th year of Garden Starters Training Classes! This is a 14-week training program teaching beginning and advanced gardeners how to grow food in an urban setting. The classes are open to anyone in Genesee County. Class topics range from getting along in the garden to composting, growing, harvesting and storing your bounty.
The Training Classes will be held on Monday evenings, 5:30p-7:30p beginning February 3rd and continuing weekly until May 5, 2014. The classes will be held in the GCCARD building, located at 601 N. Saginaw. edible flint is now accepting applications, which can be found at edibleflint.org, along with a list of all of the class topics and descriptions. The cost is $65 for the total 14-week program; class materials and meals are provided. Applications are due by January 28th, 2014 along with the class fee. Participants should not feel discouraged to apply because of the fee; there are scholarships and payment plans available.
There are many benefits to the program and something for almost everyone! A participant in last year’s training classes said they were “great for beginning gardeners and for experienced gardeners to reinforce their knowledge.” Participants also get to know each other throughout the 14 weeks and will have the opportunity to network and exchange resources. Last year another participant said their “favorite part about the program was interacting with the group.”
The purpose of edible flint Garden Starters is to support residents in producing food by providing training and garden resources. The goal is to coordinate and provide services, provide tools and materials to support residents in producing food, and to enhance quality and productivity of food gardens. The focus of the training is on growing food gardens with an emphasis on organic practices and garden sustainability over time.
Applications are available at edibleflint.org. For questions, additional information, or to arrange a payment plan, please call Sam Farah, the Garden Starters Training Program Coordinator, at (810) 244-8527, or email [log in to unmask]
edible flint is a network of local residents and public and private organizations unified by the mission, “to support Flint residents in growing and accessing healthy food in order to reconnect with the land and each other.” edible flint formed in 2009 and since then has hosted five Food Garden Tours, collectively sold produce through the edible flint Co-op at the Flint Farmers’ Market, offered training classes on urban food gardening, completed an assessment of some food vendors in the City of Flint by youth and a second, more in depth assessment in 2012 whose results will be published, and has distributed Garden Starter kits and services for the past four years.
The 2014 Market Manager Certificate Program will be better than ever!
The MIFMA Farmers Market Manager Certificate Program is a voluntary program designed to encourage farmers market managers to pursue leadership skills and professional development in topics essential to market management.
Same Great Program:
Top notch speakers on topics ranging from developing a market mission statement to governance, writing rules/policies, conflict management, vendor licensing and regulations, food assistance programs and marketing.
Networking opportunities with market managers from across the state
Only program in the country that recognizes attendees as certified, professional trained, market managers upon completion
New and Improved Format:
Two locations for in-person sessions: Grand Rapids & Marquette
Webinars to reduce travel time
Weekend and evening programming for market managers with full time jobs
Registration for the full program closes December 31, 2013.
Register today for the full program and learn more at http://mifma.org/market-manager-certificate-program/.
Individual, topic based webinars can be registered for through the Calendar of Events at http://mifma.org/events-3/.
Michigan Farmers Market Association
Registration now opens for the 2014 Integrated Pest Management Academy!
Looking to brush up on your pest management skills? Register now to ensure your spot at this pioneering workshop designed to serve specialty crop, field crop and landscape professionals.
Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce that the 3rd annual Integrated Pest Management Academy will be held February 18-19 at the Okemos Conference Center in Okemos Michigan (located just outside of East Lansing). The 2014 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Academy is a two day workshop packed full of information to help you improve your integrated pest management practices on farm and take advantage of all the great resources Michigan State University has to offer. The presenters at this program include a number of MSU’s best and brightest research and extension faculty, offering a rare opportunity to hear from experts working in a variety of disciplines and cropping systems at a single event. The first day of the program will cover fundamental topics including: IPM strategies for disease and insect control; promoting and protecting pollinators; alternative weed control strategies; pesticide basics; the impacts of weather on pesticides; invasive pests; and IPM resources from MSU. On the second day of the workshop participants opt into two, half-day sessions focused on the topic of their choice. This year, the day two sessions include the following options:
Soil health: What is it, Why is it Important, and How Can it be Managed? Soil is one of the most important, but often the ignored components of successful plant production. Understanding the importance of soil management and how soil interacts with nutrients, water and pesticides will be explored during this session. Attendees are encouraged to bring soil test results to get a personal recommendation for their site and crops. This a cross commodity session, everyone’s welcome.
Landscape Design and IPM: Getting it Right from the Start Many landscape plant problems are rooted in poor design or poor plant selection. This session will feature a discussion on landscape design, placement and selection of ornament plants and their implications when dealing with pest management in landscapes. This session may be of interest to landscape professionals or backyard enthusiasts.
Stewardship of Pesticides in Michigan Field Crops Farmers use many tools to manage weeds, insects and diseases in their cropping system. Still, chemical controls are often favored for their ability to provide efficient and effective crop protection. This session will offer an overview of the many pesticide options available to field crop producers, discuss their modes of action and highlight management strategies that can be used to limit the development of pesticide resistance as well as practices that can be used to manage pest populations that already exhibit resistance.
Hops: Getting Started The morning hop session will cover an introduction to hops, soils and site selection, understanding soil and tissue testing, variety selection, trellising, irrigation and establishment costs.
Hop Management The afternoon hop session will cover planting and training hops, fertilizer and nutrient requirements, common insect mite and disease problems, scouting for insects and diseases, weed management, and harvesting and processing hops.
Ecologically-Based Fruit Pest Management Growing fruit can be an input intensive, challenging endeavor. Session participants will learn about ecologically sound preventative pest actions, pest management approaches, and horticultural practices that can help lessen the challenge of growing fruit.
Managing Pests in Diverse Vegetable Rotations Michigan growers produce a wide diversity of vegetables at many different scales, which are challenged by a sometimes overwhelming diversity of insect, disease and weed pests. This session aims to introduce conventional and organic growers to an integrated set of control tactics—including cultural, chemical, mechanical and biological approaches—that can be used to manage pests in an economically and environmentally sound way.
Solving the Puzzle: IPM Planning and Implementation for Real-world Field Crops Systems Integrated pest management makes sense on paper, but how do you fit this broad philosophy into a real-world cropping system? In this session we will discuss how to develop a farm IPM plan that encourages pest management decisions that focus on maintaining efficiency and maximizing profitability. In addition, a panel of farmers will share with participants how they have successfully incorporated IPM principles into their farm plans.
Emerging Pest Problems of Michigan Landscapes New or invasive pests can cause significant economic and ecological damage. This session will review current and potential pest problems to Michigan landscapes such as oak wilt, hemlock woolly adelgid, thousand canker disease, Asian longhorn beetle and more.
The cost of this event is $225. Please note that snacks, lunch and parking are included. Participants also receive a notebook with program material and a complimentary IPM-related MSU bulletin. Michigan pesticide recertification credits will be available, the exact number will be based on session selection but participants can expect at least 6 credits (private or commercial core available). For more information on the program, a full agenda or registration visit http://bit.ly/ipm-academy14 . For more information or to register by phone contact Betsy Braid at [log in to unmask] or 517-884-7081.
This program was developed with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
MSU Extension programs and material are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the Betsy Braid at 517-884-7081 two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.
Registration is open for the 2014 Michigan Family Farms Conference
The Michigan Family Farms Conference celebrates its 11th year on Saturday, January 18 at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek Michigan. This year’s theme, “Family Farming – Growing Toward the Future”, will focus on Michigan’s farming heritage and growing opportunities for farmers in the future. Online registration is now open at www.miffs.org/mffc.
The Michigan Family Farms Conference is a forum for beginning, small-scale and culturally diverse farmers to network, learn and build sustainable family farms. For more than ten years, the conference has helped connect farmers from across the state to important resources and learn how to make their farms more sustainable and more viable.
This year’s 18 breakout sessions cover just about everything in the world of local food and sustainable agriculture, like urban farming, hoophouses, food safety, the Farm Bill, estate planning, smartphones and much more! Special youth activities focused on agriculture, too, make this family farms conference truly a family event. A full list of sessions and speakers is available online at www.miffs.org/mffc/sessions.asp.
Lydia Gutierrez, President of Hacienda Mexican Foods is this year’s keynote speaker. She’ll share her commitment to local food and her local community, the ups and downs of a small business and how faith, tenacity and determination have led to her success as a business owner.
The early-bird registration fee is $40 per person or $30 for students until December 20, and group discounts are available. Registration rates go up to $45 per person on December 21, and the deadline for registering is January 12. Register on-line at www.miffs.org/mffc.
For those interested in sponsoring the event or being a conference exhibitor, more information is available at www.miffs.org/mffc.
Planning partners include: Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS), the Farm Research Cooperative, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA), Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU Extension, and the Calhoun Conservation District.
Annual working meeting of Midwest Cover Crop Council
Held in Warsaw, IN. April 8-9, 2014
Includes working group and state/province reports, joint projects planning and discussion, and visiting cover crop plots at Jamie Scott’s farm.
(8am Tuesday April 8 – 2pm Wednesday April 9)
Registration materials and further details will be available in January.
Note: Producers are encouraged to attend the annual Scott Field Day on Saturday morning April 5, unless they are interested in the working groups and state/province reports of MCCC.
Value Added Producer Grant-For farmers seeking to add value to their crops Due Feb 24th!
The primary objective of the VAPG program is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the end goals of this program. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain, as defined in the Program Regulation. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Deadline 24 Feb. Read full announcement http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=RDBCP-2013-VAPG
The Crop Science Department and Agroecology Education Program at North Carolina State University invites applications for a Agroecology Education Farm Manager position that will support the new Agroecology Education Farm facility at the Lake Wheeler Field Research Facility in Raleigh, NC. Applicants should apply online athttps://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/30898 . Review of applications will begin Dec 20, 2013, and continue until the position is filled.
Please see below for more information.
NCSU Agroecology Education Farm Manager
North Carolina State University (NCSU) in partnership with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is developing a new facility, the NCSU Agroecology Education Farm (AEF). The AEF is a 6 acre facility at the Lake Wheeler Field Research Facility directly adjacent to the Historic Yates Mill Park in Raleigh that promotes agroecology and sustainable agriculture education through hands-on learning opportunities for NCSU students, staff and faculty and the surrounding community.
The position of the AEF Farm Manager is to plan, manage, and organize sustainable and organic agriculture production at the AEF such that it functions as a whole farm system, providing the base of education and outreach activities in agroecology. A significant amount of the production at the AEF is being sold to NCSU University Dining Services and this is expected to grow. The Farm Manager is also expected to be able to coordinate and carry out educational activities with diverse audiences from students to community that include facilitating course activities and student internships, organizing tours and workshops, and helping plan engagement and fundraising activities. The Farm Manager is under the direct supervision of the Agroecology Education Coordinator in the Department of Crop Science at NCSU is expected to communicate and work with the AEF Steering Committee, University Dining Services, Lake Wheeler Field Station staff, Historic Yates Mill Park staff, Green Planet Catering (partner leasing land at the AEF) and the diverse multidisciplinary sustainable agriculture faculty team at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.
ESSENTIAL JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
The Agroecology Education Farm (AEF) Manager will provide farm management and education in sustainable and organic agriculture production practices of the AEF such that it functions as a whole farm system, providing the base of education and outreach activities in agroecology.
BS in Crop Science, Soil Science, Horticulture, or agricultural related field of study with at least 2 years of production experience.
· Experience in sustainable and organic production including horticultural crops, grains, cover crops, greenhouses, and small livestock will be components on the Agroecology Education Farm.
· Experience with educating and communicating with diverse audiences about sustainable agriculture is a must, as the AEF hosts classes, tours, workshops, meetings and community programs.
· The incumbent will be a highly motivated, organized, independent self- starter who enjoys tackling the challenges of both production agriculture and informal teaching is required.
· Ability to prioritize tasks is necessary, while considering input from multiple participants and availability of labor and equipment. Management experience is required for organizing and supervising numerous individuals and enterprises.
MS degree in sustainable agriculture, agricultural, biological, environmental sciences or agricultural education discipline and at least 3 years of production experience. Additional experience with irrigation, farm equipment maintenance and carpentry skills preferred.
Review of applications will begin Dec 20, 2013, and continue until the position is filled. Applicants should apply online at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/30898
The Edible Schoolyard Plant Sale Intern
The Special Events Intern assists in the planning and execution of the Plant Sale at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley (May 10, 2014). In conjunction with the Administrative Coordinator, the Plant Sale Intern works on event planning, logistics, special projects, and day-of event management. It is an ideal position for candidates wishing to gain experience in a fast-paced, multi-faceted, not-for-profit environment. The Plant Sale Intern reports to the Administrative Coordinator.
Duties include but are not limited to:
Plant Sale Preparations and Execution
· Design and implement an advertisement strategy, including printing and distributing signs
· Create and set up event signs
· Design and implement waste management and recycling strategies
· Pick up supplies and donations
· Write and distribute thank you cards to donors and volunteers
· Assist ESY staff in setting up and breaking down Plant Sale
· Lead a team of volunteers on the day of the Plant Sale (Saturday, May 10th)
The ideal candidate has demonstrated experience in planning and executing large-scale events; excellent organization, communication, and follow-through are required skills. The Plant Sale Intern must be able to receive directions and work independently, as this is largely a project-based position. The internship offers a wide variety of projects and there is little repetition. Candidates must be available to work on the following days: Friday, May 9th; Saturday, May 10th; Tuesday, May 13th. A valid driver’s license is also required.
Duration and Compensation
The Plant Sale Internship is a ten week unpaid position. The intern works ten hours per week for the duration of the internship. The position is unpaid, lunch is provided, and expenses (such as gas and mileage) will be reimbursed. The internship begins the week of March 3rd and ends May 16th.
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume with “Plant Sale Internship” in the subject line to [log in to unmask]. In the cover letter, please indicate your preferred days and times to complete the weekly three-day commitment. Please also use the cover letter to highlight previous relevant experiences. Applications will be accepted until Friday, January 31st. No phone calls or drop-ins, please.
The Edible Schoolyard
1781 Rose Street
Berkeley, CA 94702