Michigan Organic Listserv

May 13, 2022

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Sharing information for farmers, processors and consumers seeking information to support their organic farming, processing practices and knowledge.


Here is the spring Michigan Organic newsletter, I hope you have been able to plant your crops given our very wet spring. Please do not forget that tilling a wet field will destroy the soil aggregates that you worked so hard to increase. 


Now we are having a heat spell challenging those who grow in green houses and hoophouses. I have included a bit to help with this challenge in this newsletter.


Seeking organic and split operation farmers to share their observations of amphibians

A PhD student, Amanda Bryant is conducting research on the relationship of amphibians in  organic agriculture. There are two separate pieces to her research. She is asking you to complete the survey found at the link below. Then if you are interested as a Michigan farmer, she asks if you would allow her to collect observational data from your farm. She is taking an amphibian census on organic and farms that are mixed, organic and conventional to determine the impact of farming practices on amphibian populations. This survey will help her to learn a bit more about the relationship of farming practices to amphibian populations, based on your experiences. If you could take the survey, it will give her a jumpstart to identify the study sites.  Here is the link to go to the survey-

Your participation is truly appreciated



Although she is a student in Texas her family has a farm in Michigan, so she wants to see how Michigan’s amphibian population is impacted by farming practices, looking at organic and organic mixed with conventional farms from across the state.


If you volunteer to let her collect data on your farm, she will visit to look for amphibians and make counts, that is all. She will not collect the amphibians or ask you to modify your farming practices. It’s kind of like an amphibian census on farms!


Here is a link to the survey itself. Participation in the survey or in the study itself is strictly for academic purposes and no data collected during research will be used to pursue any form of litigation and not be connected to your farm by name. 

Thank you very much, Amanda. Please forward any questions to my email:

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Cover cropping in the heat of spring

Finding time to plant cover crops this time of year is easier said than done, but well worth considering if you have some open fields and can focus on a few key principles. 

A very wide range of cover crops and mixes can be sown in the next few weeks, each with their own unique costs and benefits (see Midwest Cover Crops Council). Key considerations include thinking through your management goals, avoiding cover crops that are in the same botanical family as any of your planned cash crops (no radishes before cabbage!), and considering when your next crop will be planted (how big of a window are you trying to fill?). The options can be overwhelming, but if in doubt and in a hurry (likely this time of year) it is safest to go with a grass species like oats for short windows or sorghum-Sudan grass for longer windows. These species are unlikely to host diseases and insects of broadleaf vegetable crops and are relatively inexpensive and reliable. 

Another good option for short windows beginning in mid-May is buckwheat, which has few vegetable relatives (only rhubarb), is usually fast to establish and suppress weeds, and is relatively easy to kill and plant into later in the season. Buckwheat planted now will begin flowering in about 40 days (early July) and produce viable seeds shortly thereafter. If mowed and disked before seed set, buckwheat can provide excellent tilth with minimal field prep before fall crops such as broccoli. 

Although it is tempting to just throw cover crop seeds into a field and hope for the best during this busy time, it is worth paying attention to a few key practices: If any weeds have begun germinating (very likely with this week’s high temperatures) be sure to kill them as close to your planting time as possible. Even a small head start for weeds will likely result in escapes that will produce weed seeds that may haunt your future. Likewise, sowing at high rates, especially if broadcasting seeds, is important for weed suppression. For sorghum Sudan grass or buckwheat, this means 50 pounds per/acre or more. Providing adequate fertility can also be important to maximize benefits of cover crops, especially on sandy soils. Consider applying 30-60 pounds of nitrogen per acre in some form at planting for non-legume covers.

Weekly vegetable report across Michigan

This is an excerpt of what is available weekly from Michigan State University Extension Educators and Specialists. If you see value in this info, click the link to read the weekly report of other crops that are impacted this week.

Crop updates


Things are moving fast with the summer-like weather. As of Monday, scattered spears were up in most Oceana County fields. By Tuesday afternoon, some growers were “evening out” fields by taking the spotty first picking and picking fields planted in 2021. Full-scale harvest was expected to ramp up this Thursday and Friday in Oceana and Mason County. Regular picking for fresh market sale had already begun in Bay County. 

With temperatures expected to reach the low 80s in the next few days, growers with the option to irrigate could consider doing soil if rain doesn’t materialize. Keeping the soil surface moist during hot dry conditions can reduce risk of sand blasting and slow spear growth to help harvest crews keep pace and maintain spear tip quality. An irrigation study on sandy soils demonstrated reductions in open spear tips under hot dry conditions. 


To read more: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/michigan-vegetable-crop-report-may-11-2022

Greenhouse management

With these unseasonable high temperatures, it is critical to keep a close eye on the temperatures in your hoop houses, especially with direct sunlight. Temperature management will be key this week for popular hoophouse vegetables like leafy greens and tomatoes.


Some tools you can use to reduce the temperatures are:


Avian flu and your flock of birds

If you own any size flock of fowl you need to be aware of this highly contagious disease. Avian influenza is a disease caused by a virus that infects wild birds such as geese, ducks, swans and shorebirds, and domestic poultry, including turkeys, chickens, ducks, and geese. But infection can come from wild birds found in your back yard as well. They have found the virus in kit foxes as of 5/12/22. It can spread very easily!

Keep up to date of impact of the Avian flu in your area visit avian influenza website for the most up-to-date information.  







Job Opportunities


The Executive Director Position is Open at 

Allen Neighborhood Center 


 Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC)  is seeking a dynamic, energetic Executive Director to lead the organization in its next phase of growth and innovation, given the anticipated retirement of long-time Director, Joan Nelson.  ANC serves as a dynamic hub where Lansing Eastside neighbors can access resources to improve their health and well-being; expand their capacity to seize job and entrepreneurial opportunities; create a strong sense of place, belonging, and community pride; and build a safe, sustainable, thriving neighborhood. ANC’s core services include:


·         Hosting a weekly food pantry, the award-winning Allen Farmers Market, and the 30-farm CSA ‘Veggie Box’ program ; running a year-round urban farming/gardening facility; and supporting aspiring food entrepreneurs with access to commercial kitchens and related resources; and 

·         Assisting neighbors in enrolling in healthcare coverage and accessing local housing resources (i.e., mortgage, first-time homeowner, and landlord-tenant assistance); 

·         Engaging neighbors through an annual door-to-door canvass, dedicated youth and senior programs, and a community newsletter.    


ANC has experienced tremendous success in its 23-year history, including the soon-to-be-completed Allen Place development, which has brought apartments, a grocery, and clinic, additional commercial kitchens, and other amenities to ANC’s home in the heart of the Eastside.  


The ANC Board of Directors is searching for a leader who will serve as an effective and faithful steward of ANC’s legacy, maintain the organization’s social entrepreneurial spirit, and inspire the trust, confidence, and respect of the ANC staff, the Eastside neighborhood, and partners throughout the Greater Lansing community. The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker and an inclusive, visionary leader with a passion for the Eastside neighborhood and ANC’s values as a community organization that pursues neighbor-driven solutions. They will possess a demonstrated comfort level working with diverse and vulnerable populations, natural problem-solving abilities, a strong track record in nonprofit 

fundraising, and the ability to lead and inspire a highly capable staff of 10-12 team members and a small army of volunteers.



The Executive Director works directly with the staff and board to carry out the mission of the organization and is responsible for the overall administration and management of ANC which includes human resources, facilities, finances, partnerships, programs, and events. Ensuring that funding and services meet or exceed ANC’s strategic goals and objectives will be the primary focus and responsibility of the director. Half of their time will be spent managing internal operations and engaging Eastside neighbors; the other half will be spent representing ANC externally, nurturing long-standing partnerships, and developing new collaborations.


Personnel Management


Fiscal Oversight and Fundraising


 Planning, Program Development, and Operations


Communications and Public Relations



The ideal candidate will have a combination of education and professional experiences—and demonstrated success as a nonprofit leader—that prepares them for this high-level executive role. This position requires strong team management capacities, a robust neighborhood engagement and planning focus, and effective interpersonal communication skills. A successful candidate will possess a social entrepreneurial spirit, fund development acumen, and the ability to implement innovative programs responsive to neighborhood needs. Additional qualifications include basic computer proficiencies and an understanding of financial controls and statements.



ANC offers a dynamic, challenging work environment with ample opportunity for professional and personal fulfillment, competitive compensation (including relocation assistance if needed), and a full benefits package. The salary range for the position is $60,000 to $80,000 depending on experience and qualifications. 



The Executive Director works in an office environment, but the mission of the organization sometimes requires working in nonstandard places and throughout the neighborhood. The Executive Director works a standard workweek, but the position often requires working evening and weekend hours to accommodate board meetings, represent ANC at public events, and fulfill other such responsibilities. 




To apply for this position, please submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to [log in to unmask]. No phone calls, please.


The deadline for applications is May 31, 2022.  ANC prefers a candidate who can join the team in mid-July 2022.   



ANC is an equal employment opportunity employer. ANC provides equal membership, employment, voluntary and service opportunities to all eligible persons without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, parental status (including pregnancy), disability, membership in any labor organization, political affiliation, height, and weight.

Joan Nelson, Director
Allen Neighborhood Center
1611 E. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48912

517- 999-3912 (direct dial)

517 - 862-6918 (cell)











Vicki Morrone

Organic Farming Specialist and Beginning Farmer Educator

Dept of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University

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+ 1-517-282-3557 (cell and What’s app)

Sorrone11 (skype)

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