There is still time to register for the Michigan Organic Food And Farming Alliance’s Organic Intensives and it’s a great 1 day of focus, discussion, idea sharing, fact building and network on the topic of your choice! There are 3 sessions to choose and definitely one of them that speaks to you!


From: MOFFA Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2022 4:33 PM
To: MOFFA Board <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: OI forward able email – I hope


[log in to unmask]" alt="PastedGraphic-10.png">


The Organic Intensives are happening and you are invited!

 [log in to unmask]" alt="PastedGraphic-11.png">

Come see this season’s exciting line up of speakers and

topics chosen for their relevance in today’s agricultural


[log in to unmask]" alt="PastedGraphic-12.png">

Diverse, Vigorous, and Hardy Fruits and Nuts: Native and Beyond

This session will bring together three presenters with decades of experience with native, non-native and exotic fruits and nuts.  Ken Asmus learned about tree farming at an early age from his father on the family farm. While planting and pruning Christmas trees he found a lot of interesting plants on the farm and after finishing a biology degree, started his own tree farm in 1982. This was Oikos Tree Crops where he began planting many types of nuts, fruits and sometimes obscure food crops on a sandy hill in southwestern Michigan, hoping to find flavors and experiment with fruits that reminded him of the wild blueberries and strawberries he used to collect at the family’s farm. Ken considers himself not a plant breeder but more of a plant herder and it is his hope to share with the public a part of nature that is often over looked or even misinterpreted in some way. Ken will present his experience in non-cultivar based plant breeding. First he will share techniques and tips for propagation of woody perennials and continue with how to establish and maintain these plants in an open field/permaculture situation. The principles Ken has learned over several years of experience can also be applied in orchard plantings and conservation or ecology situations.


Allyson Levy and Scott Serrano, co-authors of Cold-Hardy Fruits and Nuts: 50 Easy-to-Grow Plants for the Organic Home Garden or Landscape, garden all year long at Hortus Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.  The gardens have an extensive collection of unusual edible and decorative plantings. By trialing both native and exotic plants, their goal is to push the limits of what can be successfully grown in Zone 6, and help fellow gardeners expand their knowledge base and incorporate some of these garden-worthy plants at home.  For the Organic Intensives they will present on Resilient Native Fruiting Plants and Low Maintenance Fruiting Plants from around the World.  Photo Credits: Emily Curran

[log in to unmask]" alt="PastedGraphic-13.png">

High Costs and Supply Scares of Nutrients: Strategies for Overcoming Organic Crop Fertility Challenges


In 2022, farmers and producers across the country saw the price of conventional fertilizers skyrocketing. Looking for alternatives, many turned to fertility sources that organic farmers had traditionally relied on, driving the price of these materials up as well as causing shortages for everyone.  If this trend continues many are considering how they are going to be able to provide the necessary fertility for crops in the future. This session will look at the problems being encountered, general soil needs, and alternative strategies and systems. The session will include information from researchers working on this problem and producers will share their experiences as they seek alternative strategies to obtain nutrients that their crops need.


Paul Treiber is a fourth generation farmer from the thumb of Michigan.  He began farming with his father in 1982 and took over the farm in 1992 while also working as an engineer in the automotive industry.  He began transitioning to organic in 2004.  Paul retired from his automotive career in 2014 to focus on the farm.  Paul raises organic corn, soybeans, wheat, and dry beans.  He has multiple test plots each year for cover crop, tillage, and fertility.  Mark Vollmar started farming in 1984 by renting his first farm while attending Michigan State University, and graduated with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics in 1988.  Today he is the fourth generation to own the land on which he lives and farms along with his son. They have been certified organic since 1996.  In 1999 he co-founded Organic Bean and Grain, an organic grain elevator and food grade grain cleaner, with his brother and in 2016 they sold the company to Cooperative Elevator Co.  In 2019 Mark and his son, started shifting their farming practices to regenerative organic because of an observed deterioration in soil quality.


Our other speakers will include Zachary Hayden, Vicki Morrone, and Dan Rossman.  Dr. Hayden is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University, focusing on soil and nutrient management for vegetable production. Through research and extension efforts, he investigates applied strategies and underlying mechanisms for improving soil and nutrient management in vegetable cropping systems, including both managing nutrients to meet production and sustainability goals in the short term, as well as strategies to improve the health and fertility of soils over the long term. Vicki Morrone is an organic field crop and vegetable outreach specialist at Michigan State University. She assists Michigan organic and beginning farmers with all phases of production, especially to understand soil health and identify ways to improve the soil such as through cover crops and smart crop rotations.  Our board member, Dan Rossman, is a retired MSU Extension Educator. His expertise is in field crop production including organic production. He is currently an organic certification inspector, an agricultural parttime instructor at Montcalm Community College, and the owner and operator of a 250 acre organic farm. 

[log in to unmask]" alt="PastedGraphic-14.png">

Keeping Outside the Box: A Comprehensive Understanding of Sustainable Beekeeping in Today’s Declining Environment

Jessica & Keith Steller became interested in beekeeping through gardening and mead-making. Knowing their yields could be greater from the benefits of the bee’s pollination, more dedication into the husbandry and natural life cycle of the bee evolved.  In this session they will present what they have learned over 15 years of alternative beekeeping methods.  The day will start with a look into top bar hives, sustainable and biodynamic practices, and the natural life cycle of the bee followed by a look at the steps of procuring a hive and bees.  Alternative apiary management practices will be the focus of the next section covering living outside of medications, building colony numbers, tending with intention, winterizing, and off-season planning.  This full day will end with an informative talk on apitherapy and alternatives to beekeeping for honey production.


[log in to unmask]" alt="clip_image009.png">

When: Saturday, January 7, 2023. 
Registration begins at 8 a.m. Sessions from 9 a.m. EST - 5 p.m. EST. 
Plant and Soil Sciences Building, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing, MI 

Become a member for 2023 to save $30 over the non-member rate!


MOFFA's Organic Intensives, and our other educational activities, are made possible by our members. Half of us are farmers growing with ecologically principled practices; some certified and some not. The rest are people who are involved with the food system through their employment (30%), and people who just plain care about what they eat (20%). If you are not already a member, we invite you to join us in working to achieve our vision of a vibrant and diverse community working together for healthy food that is available to everyone and for agricultural practices that support the long-term viability of our ecosystem.




Vicki Morrone

Organic Farming Specialist and Beginning Farmer Educator

Dept of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University

[log in to unmask]

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

Sorrone11 (skype)

If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field