Michigan Organic Listserv

News for Organic Farmers and Those that care about organic food

April 14, 2014


From Center for Regional Food Systems at MSU

Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])



Michigan Organic Reporting Session hosted more farmers than ever before!!


Organic Reporting Session (March 7) was worth the drive according to several attending organic farmers.  Sixty farmers and about 20 ag professionals attended. The day included research reports, farmer/researcher discussion, update on farm bill and organic markets, and a tour of the SOF and the Haygrove Tunnels. Ideas were gleaned for farmers preference for new organic production research including whole farming system approaches, cover crops to reduce corn pests, compost, humic acid research and heirloom varieties of apples.


March 26-28.  Attended 2.5 day AABI retreat in East Lansing and Okemos. First day was on evaluations and how to construct to get useful info. MSUE also has a person on board to assist educators to construct and implement the survey including through Survey Monkey.  The other 2 days focused on team building and complimenting each other’s work, based on educators and campus based specialists. Working groups presented an update and a plan of action.


Served with racial equity group to determine facilitator team and date.


Assisted with committee to establish the F2I Launch and facilitated a team to discuss tomatoes in institutions, the value chain and challenges. For information on the topics and sessions held visit www.Michiganorganic.msu.edu home page.



Natural Resource Conservation Services develop new webpages for farmers

This is the program that offers cost-shares and educational guidance to help you improve your farming practices to become more environmental sound. It is a government agency so there is due paperwork involved. They have made their website to break it down into easy to understand steps and make the process simpler, Check it out… http://www.morningagclips.com/index.php?cID=6612#.U0vabcdz_s9



Confusion about applying manure on a certified organic farm

Between interpreting and appropriately applying the NOP laws and getting them confused with the Food Safety Modernization Act I want to take the opportunity to share the NOP rules on manure application and a brief explanation.

§205.203   Soil fertility and crop nutrient management practice standard.

(a) The producer must select and implement tillage and cultivation practices that maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of soil and minimize soil erosion. (Smart tillage would be a good way to summarize this. Of course incorporating manure into soil is best for the soil and the environment)

(b) The producer must manage crop nutrients and soil fertility through rotations, cover crops, and the application of plant and animal materials. (Soil and plant nutrient applications need to be justified, based on soil tests and field monitoring)

(c) The producer must manage plant and animal materials to maintain or improve soil organic matter content in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances. Animal and plant materials include:

(1) Raw animal manure, which must be composted unless it is:

(i) Applied to land used for a crop not intended for human consumption; (such as pastures or feed grain or hay).

(ii) Incorporated into the soil not less than 120 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles; or (vegetables and brambles)

(iii) Incorporated into the soil not less than 90 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion does not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles; (tree crops such as apples, cherries, pears and peaches)


Composted plant and animal materials produced though a process that:

(i) Established an initial C:N ratio of between 25:1 and 40:1; and SO this means: 25 PARTS ( or containers) OF CARBON (straw/dry leaves) and 1 part Nitrogen (fresh manure/green alfalfa or other legume crop such as hairy vetch or clover).

(ii) Maintained at a temperature between 131 °F and 170 °F for 3 days using an in-vessel or static aerated pile system; or (so if you pile your compost these temperatures must be attained) Records for this process must be kept

(iii) Maintained a temperature of between 131 °F and 170 °F for 15 days using a windrow composting system, during which period, the materials must be turned a minimum of five times. This is a typical process  for a large compost facility.

(3) Uncomposted plant materials.

(d) A producer may manage crop nutrients and soil fertility to maintain or improve soil organic matter content in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances by applying:

(1) A crop nutrient or soil amendment included on the National List of synthetic substances (available on line or email [log in to unmask]) allowed for use in organic crop production;

(2) A mined substance of low solubility; (one that does not dissolve in water easily)

(3) A mined substance of high solubility: Provided, That, the substance is used in compliance with the conditions established on the National List of nonsynthetic materials prohibited for crop production;

(4) Ash obtained from the burning of a plant or animal material, except as prohibited in paragraph (e) of this section: Provided, That, the material burned has not been treated or combined with a prohibited substance or the ash is not included on the National List of nonsynthetic substances prohibited for use in organic crop production; and (so treated lumber ash is NOT allowed)

(5) A plant or animal material that has been chemically altered by a manufacturing process: Provided, That, the material is included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production established in §205.601. (so a non allowable substance cannot be used (for example) in rinse water of a milking parlor floor that was mixed with the manure or bedding that you want to use in the compost or field application)

(e) The producer must not use:

(1) Any fertilizer or composted plant and animal material that contains a synthetic substance not included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production;

(2) Sewage sludge (biosolids) as defined in 40 CFR part 503; and (not allowed EVER)

(3) Burning as a means of disposal for crop residues produced on the operation: Except, That, burning may be used to suppress the spread of disease or to stimulate seed germination. (this would be the case for a flamer for weeding or to destroy crop residues if a disease has been identified that can survive in the remaining crops.)




Educational Opportunities


Free Webinar Will Focus on Urban Farming Viability

April 29  webinar, "Urban Farms: Commercial Farms or Socially Minded Operations?"

Local food was once considered to be in the purview of consumers and small-scale producers. Recently, policymakers, including those residing in cities, began embracing local food systems as a solution to a myriad of urban problems, including lack of green space and a dearth of healthy food availability. As part of this shift in policy, cities and other jurisdictions have embraced production in the urban environment. But at the local and state levels, such policies are often based on a vision of how food might be grown in a city, and do not consider the feasibility or viability of such ventures. Nor do the policies consider how much of a contribution urban farms might make to urban food supplies.   The question of how much food urban farms can supply is critical, given the small amount of land devoted to farming in urban areas. A further complicating factor is that many urban farms have claimed nonprofit status and often act as more as educational facilities rather than as commercial farms.   A free April 29  webinar, "Urban Farms: Commercial Farms or Socially Minded Operations?" will provide an analysis of the differences between nonprofit and commercial urban farms, and is based on research conducted by researchers at NYU, Penn State, and NCAT-ATTRA. Funding for this study was provided by National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 2012-68006-30177. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ATTRA website at www.attra.ncat.org   To Register:  Go online at  https://attra.ncat.org/urban_farms

Webinar - Urban Farms: Commercial Farms or Socially Minded Operations? Date: April 29 Time: 1 p.m. EDT Participants: •    Carolyn Dimitri, Associate Professor of Food Studies at NYU Steinhardt •    Andy Pressman, National Center for Appropriate Technology Sustainable Agriculture Specialist                      

Cost: Free


Job and Internship Opportunities


Summer Internships at Allen Neighborhood Center


Established in 1999, Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC) is a hub for neighborhood revitalization and for activities that promote the health, safety, stability, and economic well-being of residents and other stakeholders in the northeast quadrant of Lansing, MI.  Our programs have emerged from ANC’s frequent and inclusive neighborhood forums, designed to address emerging issues, including food security and food access, and ensure the development of pioneering, resident-driven strategies for community improvement. ANC offers great internship opportunities for people to increase their knowledge of health and housing resources, gardening, and food and nutrition, while making an important contribution to the community.  


Summer Internship Positions include:


Hunter Park GardenHouse  - Serve as Hunter Park GardenHouse shift leader 2-3 times per week (guide-by-the-side with volunteers to plant, harvest, water, weed, etc., and engage with visitors). Document GardenHouse programs through social media (photos & updates). Work with the GardenHouse Director to develop and implement GardenHouse special projects (i.e. Fruit Tree Project, composting, etc.). (click link for full posting)


Youth Programs  – work with the Youth Programs Coordinator to facilitate gardening and nutrition focused lessons and activities, as well as with behind-the-scenes work such as maintaining attendance records, developing lesson plans, collaborating with other organizations on special events, updating social media, etc. (click link for full posting)


Allen Market Place  - Food Chatter (Distributing samples, recipes using product available in the Market, and nutrition education materials);  Allen Street Farmers Market Operations Assistant (assisting with our Sparrow Satellite Market and more); Bread Basket (helping to wrap our bread donations, staff the distribution), Allen Market Place Promotions (help us with marketing and social media promotion), the Exchange (assisting at the Market with the distribution of food ordered through the allenmarketplace.org site).


ANC Communications  - work alongside Executive Director on Allen Neighborhood Center’s weekly e-bulletin (Active Neighboring News), the bi-monthly Eastside Neighbor print newsletter, website maintenance (www.allenneighborhoodcenter.org), and social media sites. 


ANC Outreach and Engagement – Greet neighbors during open hours, help link folks with health and housing resources, answer phones, and/or become a part of our summer door-to-door canvassing team to gather and share information with neighbors.


For further information, contact Arooj at [log in to unmask], 517-999-3919 

Visit: www.allenneighborhoodcenter.org


Rita O'Brien

Hunter Park GardenHouse Director

Allen Neighborhood Center

1619 E. Kalamazoo St

Lansing, MI 48912

(517) 999-3910


Diversified Vegetable, Cut-Flower and Livestock production



Grassroots Farm LLC offers an internship and housing

This farm is located in Monroe, Wisconsin which is 40 miles south of Madison.

They offer shared housing (private farmhouse bedroom), food (including meat, vegetables, eggs, and fresh cow's milk)

Monthly stipend offered for part-time (25-30 hrs/week) educational labor

April-October, personal transportation and cell phone available

small scale, Certified Organic mixed vegetable production

safe equipment operation including BCS walk-behind tractor, riding mower, and introduction to 4-wheel tractor

use and maintenance

hoophouse and greenhouse management

organic egg production

beginning hopyard management, harvest and trellising

small herd management and rotational grazing of cattle and lambs

electric fence management

farm carpentry skills and fencing

hog farrowing and market hog production

small scale beekeeping

turkey, goose and broiler chicken production from brooder to processor

access to our methods of record keeping and organizing our business

CSA program management

small-scale organic flower production, cutting, and bouquet making

product delivery to Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison

produce canning, pickling, and preserve in our home kitchen under the cottage food bill requirements

daily farm chores and donkey training

independent project/income opportunities

Intern requirements: MUST HAVE STRONG DESIRE TO LEARN TO FARM, among other things.

Apply here: http://www.grassrootsfarmllc.com/internship/

Or email Farmer Lindsey directly at [log in to unmask]





Graham’s Organic Farm and USDA Meat Processor seeks intern

They are seeking someone that has organic knowledge with interests in livestock, poultry and crop farming.  They are located in Rosebush, MI (North of Ithaca, MI). They produce beef and poultry and process certified organic beef, pork, lamb, and their own poultry. They are the only USDA/NOP processors in the state. This is an excellent opportunity to learn while doing. They are seeking someone with knowledge on organic production and wants to learn. Contact Pat Graham for details: 989-433-5900. Their farm web site is: http://www.grahamsorganics.com/ to learn more about them and what they do.





Vicki Morrone
Organic farming specialist
Center For Regional Food Systems at MSU
480 Wilson Rd Rm 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)

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