Michigan Organic Listserv

June 1, 2021

Center for Regional Food Systems

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Wishing all of you well, with good health and a successful planting season.



Organic learning opportunities


Two Classes to bring your farm to the next level or get started farming

The MSU Farm Business Plan Accelerator is a 100% online opportunity to meet twice weekly with other beginning and aspiring farmers to write a farm business plan that fits YOUR farm-site, markets, skills and goals. The cost for this program is $900.


Sign up now to join the learning community each Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 1:30pm from June 16 to October 15.


The MSU Organic Farmer Training Program is a 50/50 mix of field and classroom activities over the full 2021 farm season at the 15-acre MSU Student Organic Farm in East Lansing. 

The cost for this program is $3900. If you also take the Farm Business Plan Accelerator program the fee is reduced to $3600, a $300 discount.


Apply now! Email [log in to unmask] for more information about either program.

The costs for this program are divided based on 2 options:


Grants available to farmers

There are new grant opportunities through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.  

The USDA, through this new office, recently announced the availability of $3 million in competitive grant funding, in part to fund Urban agriculture.  These funds will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories: Planning Projects and Implementation Projects.

There are several different programs to help urban and rural farms and each program has specific targets. The USDA will be hosting a webinar featuring an overview of the grants’ purpose, project types, eligibility, and basic requirements on a webinar, which will be held on June 3, 2020, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. This learning event will provide an overview of the grants’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. Information on how to register and participate in the webinar, or listen to the recording, will be posted at  Applications for this program will be accepted on until midnight ET on July 6, 2020.

Another type of grant opportunity-for community compost:  There will also be $900,000 available for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year 2020. These cooperative agreements will support projects for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. A webinar detailing additional information will be held on June 4, 2020 at The USDA will be accepting applications on until midnight on June 26, 2020.

As you know, in writing the 2018 bipartisan Farm Bill, we made historic investments in urban agriculture, organic production, beginning and minority farmers, and Michigan’s many fruit and vegetable growers. For the first time, we created the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production and established permanent funding for farmers markets, food hubs, and other investments that drive Michigan’s local food economy. I hope you are able to take advantage of these new funding opportunities made possible by the Farm Bill.

If you are developing a grant proposal and would like a letter of support for your grant application or need other help, please feel free to contact one of my regional Senate offices: Flint, Saginaw, Bay, Thumb (810-720-4172); Mid-Michigan (517-203-1760); Northern Michigan (231-929-1031); Southeast Michigan (313-961-4330); Upper Peninsula (906-228-8756); or West Michigan (616-975-0052).

I hope you and your family are doing well and staying healthy. Thank you for the amazing work you are doing to expand urban agriculture efforts in Michigan.


Specialty Crops Producers, dairy farmers and animal producers can still apply for financial assistance through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Ruth Shaffer

Water Quality Specialist and Michigan Organic POC


USDA Rural Development Business and Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program Webinar

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 (For Stakeholders and the Public)

Time: 2 PM Eastern

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making available up to $1 billion in loan
guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic. This loan program is for businesses, including farms that cannot get a loan from FSA. This loan is for business in operation after Feb 15, 2020 and located in rural areas of less than 50,000 persons or are focused on production of specialty food crops.

B&I CARES Act Program loans must be used as working capital to prevent, prepare for or
respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans may be used only to support rural businesses, including agricultural producers, that were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020.
The Department began accepting applications on May 22, 2020. Applications must be received no later than midnight Eastern Daylight Time on September 15, 2021, or until funds are expended. Program funding expires Sept. 30, 2021.
Eligible applicants may contact their local USDA Rural Development State Office in the state where the project is located.
Eligible Program Applicants: Federal or State-Chartered Banks, Savings and Loans, Farm Credit Banks, Credit Unions

Webinar Topics: Program and Application Requirements, Program Resources, Guidance on How to Apply.

Who Should Attend:
Rural Lenders, Stakeholders and the General Public

To Register, Visit:



Educational opportunities for new farmers and gardeners

Smart Gardening with Vegetables 101: Late spring tips

May 26 | Rebecca Krans

Thanks to all who have participated in the Smart Gardening with Vegetables 101 Online Course! We are excited to stay in touch with all of you throughout your gardening experience this year with these seasonal articles. For those who have not taken the course, check it out at Smart Gardening with Vegetables 101 Online Course. It is the beginning of the vegetable gardening season in Michigan, and one of the questions a new vegetable gardener may ask is, “Can I plant vegetable seeds and transplants in the garden yet?” The answer is not a simple yes or no because several factors need to be considered; however, there are some easy ways to gauge when it is a good time to plant. Check out these short Smart Gardening tips.

Michigan Cottage Food Law Workshop

June 26. 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Zoom Webinar

This two-hour workshop combines education about the Michigan Cottage Food Law and food safety aspects of preparing and selling cottage foods safely and successfully. The Cottage food law allows you to produce certain foods in your home kitchen, or a kitchen that is not a certified kitchen. If you take this class and carefully follow the state regulations you can sell these listed products direct to a consumer, such as through a Farmers Market or part of a CSA share.








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Vicki Morrone

Organic Farming Specialist

Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University

480 Wilson Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-282-3557 (cell)

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sorrone11 (skype)


Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard.



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