Article Archives

13 Oct 2014    MOFFA Social November 1

photo of Vicki Zilke

It's A Party!

Please join us for a fun filled MOFFA social at the Zilke farm in Milan Mi (south of Ann Arbor). 

Saturday, November 1st
3:00 - 5:30

We will be hosted by Tom and Vicki Zilke for a tour of their farm, hoop house and gardens, and equpment shed.  The Zilkes are in the process of transitioning to organic so would love to hear your thoughts too. 

Following the tour we will have a potluck and meet-and-greet so please bring a dish to share.  See the flyer for details, or go ahead and reserve your space at moffa.net/farmtour.html.  

 

 
14 Sep 2014    Organic Soybean Variety Plots Evalutation Tours

Organic Soybean Variety Plots Evalutation Tours

View of soybean fieldFrom the MSU Extension Service: Over 50 non-GMO soybean varieties are being compared under organic production systems in our region at multiple sites. These varieties are a mix of tried and true brands, new industry releases, and experimental lines from university breeding programs.

You are invited to join other organic producers to view and voice your preference about characteristics that are desirable to you (pod set, plant height, canopy closure, competitiveness, etc). This information (along with yield) will be useful to identify varieties in the breeding program to move forward for seed production and release.

The tours will take place on Thursday, September 25th.  For more information and to register, please see the brochure for the event.

 
13 Aug 2014    Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers?

Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers?

From Eric Hansen of the National Young Farmers Coalition:

Farmers across the country are responding to the opinion piece in this weekend's New York Times: "Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Farmers." It resonates.

We agree that many growers aren't yet making a living, and we hope that you feel proud to be part of a coalition of farmers and consumers organizing for change.

Author Bren Smith mentions the need for loan forgiveness for college graduates pursuing careers in agriculture. Right now, we're building a campaign to tackle the issue of student debt and we need your help. We are working with Congressional offices to put together legislation that would authorize loan forgiveness for career farmers in the next Higher Education Act and we need stories to illustrate the problem.

If you are struggling with student loan payments while farming, please take this survey and share it widely with your networks. Putting together a bill in Congress is tough and we need your voices.

Please take the survey now!

 
13 Aug 2014    USDA Seeking Business Listings for Local and Regional Food Directories

USDA Seeking Business Listings for
Local and Regional Food Directories

Two recent announcements by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)  highlighted the agency’s progress in developing three new directories that will support local and regional food systems and updated data for the already established National Farmers Market Directory.

The announcements included steps AMS is taking to launch three new local food directories: the National Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Enterprise Directory, National Food Hub Directory, and National On-Farm Market Directory.  AMS is currently accepting business listings for these new directories through its webpage.

Read More ...

 
12 Aug 2014    Valuing Michigan's Local Food System

Valuing Michigan's Local Food System

The Michigan State University Center for Economic Analysis and Center for Regional Food Systems collaborated to investigate the economic value of local food in Michigan.  The centers recently released Valuing Michigan's Local Food System, a brief that summarizes findings of an analysis of the economic value of Michigan's farm production that is ultimately consumed as “local food."

You can find the brief at http://foodsystems.msu.edu/resources/local-food-econ.

 
27 Jul 2014    Organic Certification Cost Share Assistance is Back!

Organic Certification Cost Share Assistance is Back!

Reimbursement Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill
Now Available to Michigan Handlers and Producers

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is pleased to announce that certification cost share assistance will be available to eligible Michigan organic handlers and producers who have been certified for the period of October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. 

Additional information about applying for the reimbursement is available in MDARD's Letter concerning the reimbursement, and he application is available in Microsoft Word format here.  The deadline for applying is October 1, 2014.  More general Information on the certification cost share program is available on the USDA's Organic Certification Cost Share Programs webpage.

 
19 Jun 2014    USDA Mishandling of NOSB Challenged

Citizen Groups Challenge USDA’s Power Grab

Legal Petition Filed to Restore Organic Board’s Independent Authority Set by Congress

usda organic seal(June 17, 2014 – Washington, DC) Today, 20 organic farm and consumer groups filed a legal petition with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to protect the authority and permanence of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The petitioners object to recent changes to the NOSB charter, renewed on May 8, 2014, that undermine the mandatory and continuing duties of the Board as established by Congress under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990.

Read more ...

 
4 Apr 2014    Carbon Sequestration, Naturally

Carbon Sequestration, Naturally

Maynard Kaufman, one of the founding members of MOFFA, has written a thought provoking article on Carbon Sequestration which we are pleased to offer to all. Please share widely!  Carbon Sequestration, Naturally

 
11 Feb 2014    Organic Seed Fund

Organic Seed Fund Announced

The USDA's National Organic Program requires the use of organic seed when commercially available. However, when the organic program began the organic seed sector was almost nonexistent and it has not yet caught up to meet the demand.

The cost of organic seed remains a barrier to the growth and success of organic farming. As such, the Rodale Institute is partnering with Amy's Kitchen to help new and transitioning organic farmers pay for organic seed for the 2014 growing season.  More information and the application form can be found here.

Please note that applicants must be new or transitioning organic farmers. Questions can be directed to megan.kintzer@rodaleinstitute.org.  Deadline for applications is March 1, 2014.

 
4 Feb 2014    A Farm Bill At Last!

A Farm Bill At Last!

After years of wrangling, both the House and Senate have passed a comprehensive Farm Bill, and it is on its way to President Obama for his signature!  And the news is generally good for organic and sustainable agriculture.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has posted a big-picture take on the bill, The New Farm Bill: The Good, The Bad, and the Wait-and-See, and a more in-depth article, What is in the 2014 Farm Bill For Sustainable Farms and Food Systems?
 

 
31 Jan 2014    Protecting Organic Seed Integrity

OSGATA is excited to announce the launch of a new book, Protecting Organic Seed Integrity, defining best practices for avoiding genetically engineered (GE) contamination in organic seed.

Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court failed American farmers who had sought protection and their right to self-defense from GE contamination in the landmark lawsuit OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto, OSGATA has printed 5,000 copies of an important handbook dedicated to protecting the organic seed supply.

Beginning today, OSGATA is providing copies of the book to organic farmers without cost. The book can be downloaded at http://www.osgata.org/registration-form/.

 
17 Jan 2014    Food Access In Michigan Project

Food Access in Michigan Project Seeks Farmer Input

The Food Access In Michigan (FAIM) project, a collaboration between six universities and an equal number of community organizations, aims to paint a more nuanced picture of food access and food insecurity across the state of Michigan. In order to do that, we are gathering the perspectives of people who work throughout the food system, from farmers to food retailers, Michigan residents and key stakeholders.

To that end, they will be holding focus groups at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, January 31-February 2.  The project would like to talk with farmers to learn their perspectives on food insecurity in Michigan, including such questions as where you currently sell (or would like to sell) your products, sources of support for Michigan farmers, and ways to address food insecurity in the state of Michigan

The project plans on sharing their results widely across the state through community presentations, press releases, fact sheets and newspaper articles.  They also plan on having a wealth of information, resources and findings on their website, and envision it as a space for anyone in Michigan to visit and learn more about the food environment where they live. 

More info about the focus groups is available on this pdf, and you can find out more about the FAIM project by visiting www.meldi.snre.umich.edu.

 
31 Dec 2013    "Agricultural Coexistence"

Comment Period Extended on USDA "Agricultural Coexistence"

The National Organic Coalition reports that the comment period has been extended on the issue of "Agricultural Coexistence" — the USDA's proposals for Coexistence of farmers using Geneticaly Engineered Crops and those who don't (Organic and Non-GMO farmers).  The deadline for comments on this issue is now March 4th. 

The NOC continues ... Organic and Non-GMO agriculture has shouldered the burden of GMO contamination for too long. This is our opportunity to tell USDA that it must use its authority to: 

(1) Implement mandatory contamination prevention measures to avoid the problem and protect the non-GMO sector, and 

(2) Ensure shared responsibility for the unwanted spread of GE products, including a fair compensation mechanism that does not further burden those who must avoid, and sometimes are harmed by, contamination. 

Comments can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by mail to:

Docket No. APHIS–2013–0047
Regulatory Analysis, and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station, 3A–03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737–1238

Also, for Farmers and Handlers, if you would like to send an ANONYMOUS COMMENT outlining your experiences and costs, please go to this site set up by NOC.  NOC will take your comment from this site, and include it as text in their comments submitted to the Docket.  If you have any questions about this process or its anonymity, please call Liana at 914-443-5759.

 
21 Nov 2013    ATTRA's New Farmer Forum Begins

ATTRA Invites Sustainable-Agriculture Conversations

'Farmer Knows Best' Forum Offers More Than A Dozen Topics

ATTRA, the nation’s premiere source of sustainable-agriculture information, is asking its users to weigh in with ideas and questions of their own.

A new user forum on the ATTRA website, Farmer Knows Best, is a way for farmers, researchers, educators, and anyone else interested in sustainable agriculture to start or contribute to a conversation on more than a dozen topics:

•    Beginning Farmer
•    Water Management
•    Soils & Compost
•    Pest Management
•    Organic Farming
•    Marketing, Business & Risk
•    Local Food Systems
•    Livestock & Pasture
•    Horticultural Crops
•    Field Crops
•    Energy Alternatives
•    What Is Sustainable Ag?
•    Education
•    General

“What better way to support research and sustainable-agriculture education than offering the people who are dedicated and passionate about the subject to share their ideas and insights,” said Carl Little, director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) sustainable agriculture programs.
 

 
9 Nov 2013    MSU Student Organic Farm 2014 Organic Farmer Training Program

MSU Student Organic Farm 2014 Organic Farmer Training Program

The Organic Farmer Training Program offers nine months of intensive instruction in year-round organic farming. The program focuses on diversified production of vegetables, livestock, flowers, fruits and herbs for local markets.  Participants manage all aspects of a 15-acre certified organic farm, including passive solar greenhouses used for year-round production in cold climates. Participants also manage the Student Organic Farm's field and hoophouse production. Produce is grown for the farm’s primary markets, including a 48-week CSA, seven-month on-campus farm stand, and sales to campus dining services.  

Scholarships are available.  Visit their website for full program description and application:  http://msuorganicfarm.org/organic-farmer-training-program. The farm may be contacted at msufarm@msu.edu or 517-230-7987.

 
4 Oct 2013    New Page – Educational Opportunities

We've added another new page to the website – Educational Opportunities.  We'll be posting events in Michigan as well as selected out-of-state opportunities and webinars.  Please let us know about any events we may have missed.

 
3 Oct 2013    Farm Guide Online

Please note that the MOFFA Farm Guide is now online – www.moffa.net/farm-guide.html.  There is a clickable map as well as indexes by county and by name of the farm. If you'd like to be in the Guide but haven't submitted your application yet, please download a copy of the application, request an application package to be mailed to you, or apply online

 
6 Sep 2013    Southwest Michigan Harvest Fest

Southwest Michigan Harvest Fest

Come join the fun at the 11th annual Southwest Michigan Harvest Fest to be held on Sunday, September 15, 2013. The fest runs from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM and is organized by Fair Food Matters of Kalamazoo, and hosted by Tillers International in Scotts, Michigan, a short ride east from Kalamazoo and Portage.  MOFFA will be there, along with lots of other folks -- over 50 exhibitors, plus entertainment, activities for children and adults ... more information at http://www.fairfoodmatters.org/harvestfest/.

 
16 Aug 2013    Local Food for Large School Districts

School Food FOCUS, a national group of K-12 school districts, is seeking information about fruits and vegetables that are regionally grown and processed in the Upper Midwest (in a region that runs from Omaha to Detroit).  As a part of that process, they are seeking responses to their Request For Information from suppliers of fresh-cut and frozen produce.

In addition to Grade A product, they are interested in information about the availability and pricing of cosmetically imperfect “seconds”.  The deadline for responses is August 30. 

A separate RFI for the provision of local produce to the Chicago Public Schools is available here.

 
28 Jun 2013    Grassroots Story Banking Project

Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy: Grassroots Story Banking Project

What’s Happening?

Michigan has no shortage of powerful stories when it comes to how communities all around the state are rebuilding local economies through food and farming. As part of our ongoing farm bill advocacy work, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is developing a collection of stories from farmers who are most affected – particularly in key states like Michigan.

Our goal is to collect stories about the impact and importance of farm bill programs. These stories will help reporters, editors, and others better cover these issues within the farm bill policy debate. We want to make sure farmers’ voices are featured more prominently in the media.

How Can I Help?

If you are interested in participating in story banking, we’d like to set up a brief interview with you to gather some basic info about your farm or organization, and the federal program(s) you have put to use on your farm or program.

That’s it!

A quick interview, and then we have that ‘on file’ for potential future press efforts. If and when we are able to highlight your story in the media, we will contact you first so that you know where we are “pitching” it and offer to help coach you for talking with reporters if you like. Completed stories may be used for state or national blog posts, online profiles, social media, op-eds, and more. If we do use the story, we will let you know ahead of time!

The Next Step…

Please let us both know if you are interested in participating in our story collection project. It shouldn’t take very long and would be a huge help for us as we work to make sure Michigan voices are heard in the legislative process! I know this time of year is totally busy for farmers, but if you do have time in the next few weeks for a quick conversation, that would be fantastic!

If you or someone you know can speak to the importance of these stranded farm bill programs, please contact us: lscalera@sustainableagriculture.net

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or other feedback!

Lindsey Scalera
Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy
Grassroots Organizer
734-646-2428
lscalera@sustainableagriculture.net

http://migoodfoodpolicy.wordpress.com

 
29 Apr 2013    Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Expand Opportunities for the Next Generation of Farmers

From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition:  "The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act is a comprehensive legislative package that invests in critical federal conservation, credit, research, and rural development programs that support opportunities for new farmers and ranchers.  The bill was originally introduced in the previous Congress, and gained the support of 37 members in the House and Senate who signed on to co-sponsor the bill."

"The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has been closely involved in the development of this bill, and has worked in close partnership with both Congressional offices along with several farmer advocacy organizations across the country, including NSAC members Land Stewardship Project, Center for Rural Affairs, National Young Farmers’ Coalition, California FarmLink, and Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, among others."

More info at http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/for-immediate-release-lawmakers-reintroduce-bill-to-expand-opportunities-for-the-next-generation-of-farmers/

 
18 Apr 2013    USDA Cost Share Reopened!
Just a reminder if you are interested in applying for cost share with NRCS.  They have reopened as they have some extra funds they have not yet given. But you'd better act quickly.  (NOTE: Schools (K-12 or college) or government organizations are NOT eligible for this program.  This program is for farmers on private land.)
  • You must register with FSA (Farming Service Agency) at your soil conservation district office. Here is the link to find your county office: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app (click on either Upper Peninsula or Lower Peninsula)
  • You must complete the  paperwork they provide
     
  • You must have a site visit with a soil conservation technician on your farm to see what you are eligible and what would be best for your farm system and they will develop a conservation farm plan.
This does not cost you for this service, beyond your time and care. These steps must be completed before you can apply for any NRCS cost share programs. Here is the announcement of the program reopen. Applications must be submitted by May 17.
 
 

USDA Announces Second Selection for Conservation Funding

EAST LANSING, April 10, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering Michigan farmers a second opportunity to competefor conservation financial assistance during 2013. Funding is available through the USDA’s Seasonal High Tunnel for Crops, Drought, Organic and Air Quality initiatives to producers who submit an application by May 17, 2013.

“This is a good opportunity for producers who were not selected earlier in the year to apply for financial assistance for conservation activities during 2013. Anyone interested in these initiatives should contact their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office as soon as possible to start the application process,” said State Conservationist Garry Lee.

The Seasonal High Tunnel, Drought and Organic initiatives are available to producers statewide, the Air Quality Initiative is available to producers in 25 Michigan counties. Farmers who submit applications with the greatest environmental benefits will be offered contracts that will pay a portion of the cost for implementing conservation practices. Farmers receive payment after the conservation practice is installed or implemented.

The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative provides financial assistance to purchase a seasonal high tunnel (hoop house) to extend the growing season for crop production. The drought initiative provides financial assistance for specified conservation activities that can help alleviate drought conditions, some eligible practices include residue and tillage management, cover crops and irrigation water management. Organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production can receive financial assistance for implementing conservation practicesconsistent with organic production to address a resource concern.

Air Quality Initiative funding is available to producers in 25 Michigan counties identified as having impaired air quality. A list of eligible counties is available online and at local USDA Service Centers. Producers in eligible counties can apply for financial assistance to implement conservation practices that improve air quality.

For more information about these initiatives and how to apply for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, contact a local field office or go online to www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service helps America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the Nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.

 

 
15 Apr 2013    Second Chance - Hoop House Cost Share

We have just received word from our NRCS that another round of funding from EQIP is AVAILABLE!! They had money leftover!!! So if you wanted to get in on the hoop house cost share last time and missed out-this is your opportunity!!!!

Remember you need to register with your local FSA office to "get on the list" and of course complete some paper work (it IS the government) and then a Soil Conservation Tech will visit you on your farm and access for feasibility of appropriate cost shares such as cover crops, transitioning to organic, fencing, animal watering systems, hoophouses/high tunnels, buffer zones and many other practices that can improve your farm business while contributing to the betterment of the environment!!

More information is available here.

 
16 Mar 2013    CSA Fair March 24th Ann Arbor

CSA Fair Sunday, March 24th 2-4pm at the Pittsfield Union Grange, Ann Arbor

They call it speed dating for local food!  Please check out the attached flyer.

 
24 Feb 2013    MOFFA Guide to Growers & Farms

GROWERS AND FARMS !

A Guide to Michigan's Organic and Ecologically Sustainable Growers and Farms
 


One of the more valuable resources that MOFFA has produced in the last two decades is a publication titled “Eating Organically” The booklet has gone thru at least two revisions, the last being in 2008. Currently a workgroup has been formed with the sole task of updating this guide as both a hardcopy edition as well as an on-line version to be posted on the MOFFA website.
 
The booklet has been renamed to be more inclusive yet still convey the inherent principles of the MOFFA mission statement. The new title will be “A Guide to Michigan’s Organic and Ecologically Sustainable Growers and Farms”.
 
This first version will focus solely on growers.  Future appendices will list and describe other resources i.e. farm markets, restaurants, retail outlets, distributors, suppliers, etc.  We of the work group felt an imperative need to have growers listed by county for the upcoming 2013 season – this will be quite an extensive list in and of itself as witnessed by committee members' current research.
 
Of great assistance to us in our work will be the submission of the information requested on our Grower Information Form by any grower who wishes to be included in the new guide.  Our website contains both a copy of the Grower Information Form which you may download and print, and an interactive form which can be filled out directly on the website.  Interested growers can also request a form be sent to them by calling
248-262-6826

Although we have farmer/grower names, more information is necessary to make this guide accurate and to assure that growers included are utilizing practices that focus on sustainable soil biology.  While organic certification is not a steadfast requirement, an accurate description of each farm's growing practices is necessary for the committee to determine inclusion.  Conventional farms will not be included.
 
Please take a few moments to complete the form. This will greatly assist us in offering to the public a resource to support organic agriculture in Michigan.
 
Thank You – The MOFFA Workgroup

 
17 Feb 2013    Organic Reporting Session - March 1, 2013

Hey Friends—YOU WILL Not want to miss this!  March 1 - Friday is the

Organic Reporting Session at Michigan State University.

This year we are offering a special chance to have YOUR voice heard. We are facilitating a discussion with farmers-researchers and ag resource folks  to tell us what you see as priority areas for future organic research.

Whether you see a need on crop production, harvest, storage, scale, transport, marketing or distribution whether you are an urban farmer in  Flint or a 500 ac bean farmer in Caro, we want to hear from YOU!!  Maureen Wilmot ­ from Organic Farming and Research Foundation will speak. Sharing "Where have all the dollars gone?"  She will come and fill us in on what is happening on the Farm Bill development and how we can engage to find grant dollars to support this work.  Visit:www.ofrf.org

The venue is at Michigan State University campus, Brody Hall, located just off Harrison Rd across from the conference center.

Of course there is also the chance to catch up on what research and results are happening at MSU and visit with our graduate students as they share their work via posters.  Lunch is at Brody Café—featuring MSU's own Student Organic farms greens.  If there is interest we will offer a tour of the new on-campus hoophouse growing organic herbs for the MSU kitchens. Social time will offer a Taste of Michigan. All of this wonderfulness for $15 for students and farmers and $25 for others.

Register at www.MichiganOrganic.msu.edu TODAY!  Event will be from 9-5  and the discussion / priority setting will be from 1:30-3:00.  Please share this with others via your newsletters and listservs.  Attached is a poster if you can share that way.  We want to make this a great event to identify great research.

Please contact me with any questions
All the best
Vicki Morrone
Organic Farming Specialist
Center For Regional Food Systems at MSU
480 Wilson Rd. Room 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542 / 517-282-3557 (cell)
sorrone@msu.edu
www.MichiganOrganic.msu.edu

 
16 Feb 2013    Food Safety Modernization Act Listening Session

Food Safety Modernization Act Listening Session / Webinar - April 24th

Dear Michigan Food and Agriculture Industry members:

The Food Safety Modernization Act, the most sweeping reform to food safety in more than 70 years, was signed into law in early 2011.  On January 16, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published proposed rules for two sections in FSMA.  These proposed rules cover Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Human Food.   The publishing of these proposed rules marked the start of a 120-day public comment period, which ends May 16, 2013. 

On April 24, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will host a listening session for the Food Safety Modernization Act proposed Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Controls Rule.  A “Save the Date” flyer is attached.  Presenters from FDA will be on hand to discuss the rules and answer questions.   If you are interested in receiving details about this listening session, please send your name, affiliation, phone number and email address to http://MDA-FoodDairyInfo@michigan.gov.

Since seating at the listening session is limited and the goal is to get input from as many producers and processors as possible, there will be an opportunity to participate in the listening session via webinar.  MDARD is working with industry partners and Michigan State University Extension to have satellite locations available around the state for those who may not have high-speed Internet capabilities.

You are encouraged to visit the FDA website at www.fda.gov/fsma to review the FSMA fact sheets prior to the listening session.  Please note that this is a listening session, not a formal hearing.  If you are interested in providing formal comments to FDA about the proposed rules, you will need to post them to the federal register.  Go to the FSMA website at www.fda.gov/fsma, click on the fact sheet about the proposed rule for which you wish to post comments and then click on the Docket Number for that rule.

 
15 Feb 2013    Sepp Holzer Permaculture Programs

The Rebel Farmer Returns — Sepp Holzer to Offer Permaculture Programs in the Ann Arbor Area

World-renowned farmer and permaculture master Sepp Holzer visits SE Michigan this April for an incredible three-day, hands-on installation course, as well as a public lecture at the University of Michigan.

Sepp Holzer has pioneered the use of ecological farming and permaculture throughout the world, practices that help to counter modern agricultural crises such as drought, pesticide pollution, loss of biodiversity and soil erosion. Sepp began farming this way in Austria in the 1960s after being unsuccessful with conventional agriculture methods. He is known as the "rebel farmer" because he persisted in these practices despite being fined and even threatened with prison. His working farm in the Austrian Alps receives thousands of students and visitors each year.

The events this April, 2013 include:

3-day installation course, April 2nd – 4th (in Ann Arbor, Highland Park and Ypsilanti) — space for 40 registered participants only. Includes 3 days of hands-on learning plus a private dinner and movie with Sepp on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Public lecture by Sepp at The Rackham Amphitheatre, University of Michigan (Rackham Building, 4th floor), Tuesday, April 2nd, 6:30 – 9:00 pm — open to the public

For more information or to register: http://www.chiwarapermaculture.com

 
13 Feb 2013    Everybody Eats 2.0

Everybody Eats 2.0

Dozens of public and private efforts – farms, farmers markets, gardens, food hubs, coops, restaurants, numerous nonprofits – are working to make Lansing’s food system more self-sustaining and equitable. These projects attend to health, nutrition (e.g., obesity) and food access, especially among under-served populations. Many projects pay particular attention to the production and consumption of fresh, locally-raised or locally-processed foods.

As we reshape the food and farming landscape within the Lansing area, it is important to consider the processes being used as well as the policies being developed. If we are serious about equity and sustainability, then concerns of land ownership (and resource distribution generally) are as important as concerns of land use. Labor relations are as critical as food quality. Neighborhood stability and place-making are as important as food availability. Civic engagement – personal and collective empowerment – is as critical as physical infrastructure and economic accountability.

These interests need to be a part of on-going public conversations if we are to build and maintain an inclusive, democratic, and ethical food system. “Everybody Eats 2.0” is here to jump-start the conversation.

For more information see http://www.every-body-eats.com/

 
8 Feb 2013    Greater Lansing Food Bank - Growing Farmers Program

Lansing Roots, a program of the Greater Lansing Food Bank (GLFB), is seeking potential applicants for the newly announced Growing Farmers Program. Growing Farmers is designed to support historically under-served, new, or beginning farmers as they develop successful farm enterprises through an incubator farm setting.

For over 30 years, the GLFB’s Garden Project has supported home and community gardens throughout the Mid-Michigan area.  Lansing Roots serves as a complement to this on-going support by both encouraging successful gardeners and interested entrepreneurs to develop farm business enterprises and lowering the barriers to success.

Ideal candidates for participation in the Lansing Roots Growing Farmers program will have:

  • Farming background or training
  • Farmer training program, intensive apprenticeship experience, agricultural background from country of origin, multiple seasons successfully growing in community gardens, etc.
  • An interest in developing an independent, small-scale farm enterprise, yet needing some technical and/or business assistance
  • An interest and desire to grow for sales and market
  • English proficiency or access to reliable translation services

Applications are due by February 15, 2013.

Those who are interested or think they would like to know more are encouraged to download and review the program guidelines and application. Information can be found on the food bank website, http://www.greaterlansingfoodbank.org/lansing-roots/growing-farmers.html

The Greater Lansing Food Bank’s Lansing Roots staff members are available for one-on-one consultation with potential applicants. Interested parties should contact the Lansing Roots Program Manager: 

Alex Bryan

517.853.7813 | LansingRoots@GreaterLansingFoodBank.org

P.O. Box 16224

Lansing, MI 48901

 
10 Nov 2012    Bridging the Gap

MICHIGAN ORGANIC FOOD AND FARM ALLIANCE

20 Years Of Service, 20 Years Of New Challenges - The Intergenerational Connection

Michigan Organic Food and Farming Alliance will be hosting a 20th anniversary event on November 10, 2012 with an educational morning session, afternoon strategic planning and early evening joyous celebration at the Sarvis Center in Flint, MI.  The theme of this event is “Bridging the Gap: Michigan Organic Celebration, Conversation and Collaboration.”  The ultimate goal of this event is to bring together MOFFA members, and all within the organic community, to forge a consensus on a future path for MOFFA.  Together we will identify and prioritize the needs of our constituents through a facilitated discussion.  There is a tremendous need to build greater collaboration in the sustainable farming community.  Only by bringing together our rich diversity and the many unique perspectives of our multi-generational growers can we determine effective methods and ideas to address the challenges we face within the food system and for our organization.  The 20th Anniversary event will be dedicated to the memory of Susan Houghton –longtime organic teacher, friend and activist who sadly passed this spring 

The program will  include educational/dialogue sessions that are both chosen and led by our partner organizations in Flint, focused on production and marketing approaches relevant to urban farmers, but also very applicable to all growers.   Michigan organic farmers will present our keynote address relating their experiences, challenges and insights.  A conversation with all attendees will follow.  We encourage you to join us and share your perspectives and ideas for MOFFA. A delicious local-organic dinner will be offered in the late afternoon, sharing important events from the past year and a chance to catch up with old and new friends.  We invite you to continue our celebration with a Taste of Michigan social event – with food, beverages and live music to capture the essence of the day. In an effort to make this day accessible to all, the cost for the entire day is $25.00.  To register for this event please visit our MOFFA website, www.moffa.eventbrite.com or download our Registration Form.   Contact us at moffaorganic@gmail with questions. To volunteer to assist with the event or if you are able to lend financial support through sponsorship please e-mail Carolyn Lowry at calowry@gmail.com.

 
12 Oct 2012    Young Farmers Conference 2012

Registration is now open for the 2012 National Young Farmers Conference.

Click here to register.
This conference sells out every year. Early registration strongly encouraged!

Click here for more details on the pre-conference seminar on December 12, conference workshops and accommodation.

 
12 Oct 2012    Tools a Big Consideration for Small-Scale Producers

Small-scale crop producers often face challenges in finding ways to increase production and efficiency in the field. Not having the right tool for the job, using a tool incorrectly or at the wrong time, or not properly maintaining a tool can negatively impact production and costs. These negative impacts include affecting soil conditions and crop health in ways that can result in unfavorable crop quality or yields as well as increased labor costs.

 
9 Oct 2012    October Michigan Organic Connections Newsletter

We invite you to read and enjoy our most recent issue: October Michigan Organic Connections Newsletter

 
4 Oct 2012    NRCS Program Provides Help for Implementing Conservation Practices

Prepare to Access the Organic EQIP Initiative in 2013

NRCS Program Provides Help for Implementing Conservation Practices

The new fiscal year will bring another opportunity for certified and transitioning organic farmers and ranchers to take advantage of the special organic initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).  

Several state National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices -- California, Maine, and Delaware -- have already set the deadline for final application to the program for 2013 funding; each state office can set their final application dates from several alternatives. Mid October is the earliest possible deadline a state may set, so contact your local or state NRCS office soon to find out what the deadline is.

 
1 Oct 2012    MOFFA's 20th Anniversary

 

MOFFA's 20th Anniversary

A Collaboration

A Conversation

A Celebration

 

Reestablish Old Friendships ~ Forge New Partnerships

When:Saturday November 10th, 2012 - 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Where:Sarvis Center in Flint, MI

What:A Harvest Celebration of MOFFA's 20 years

What to Expect:Morning farmer to farmer educational event developed in collaboration with the Edible Flint Coop and other partners. Afternoon and early evening event committed to communication and visioning toward creating broad collaboration within the organic community. With farmer panels, Michigan keynotes, dinner, music, wine & laughter.

Who:Beginning & Seasoned Farmers, Consumers & Businesses

Your membership in MOFFA would be much appreciated. Please renew/join today! Thanks!

 

 
11 Jul 2012    Sepp Holzer Permaculture Course in Highland Park - This September!

Historic Highland Park, MI, will be the first destination for Team Sepp - Judith Anger, Immo Fiebrig and Johnny Peham, international educators and designers certified in Holzer Permakultur.

Thier 3-day course will feature hands on-site evaluation, design and installation at 3 separate Highland Park sites - 2 residential homes, Hugelkulture beds, and one large-scale Holzer "Krater Garten".

Join them for this transformational course and revolutionary approach to local food systems. Take home the knowledge and skills to begin growing with Holzer Permakultur this year, where you live.

The course will be held September 28, 29, 30th from 8am-6pm each day, with lodging and meal plans available. Early registration is $149. To learn more and register, visit:  chiwarapermaculture.com

 
8 Jul 2012    New Microloan Proposal Helps Small Farmers Avoid High-Interest Credit Card and Personal Loans

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on a new microloan program, Microloan Operating Loan Program, to help small and family operations progress through their start-up years with needed resources, while building capacity, increasing equity, and eventually graduating to commercial credit. Under the microloan proposal, producers who need a loan for less than $35,000 may apply using simplified and streamlined procedures. The program will cut the required paperwork in half and simplify the process to obtain a loan.

 
20 Jun 2012    OTFA Orchard Field Day

Join OFTA in Michigan August 17 & 18 

OTFA Orchard Field Day - 

Hops Tour & Cider Tasting

Organic Orchard Management: Highlights and Lessons Learned from On-farm Research

Saturday, August 18th, 10:00 am -4:00 pm
 Garthe Farms, LLC
9691 East Seth Rd, Northport, MI
 
13 Jun 2012    Call Your Senators to Protect Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Call Your Senators to Protect
Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Senator Toomey has introduced an amendment in the Senate Farm Bill that would strike out the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program 

 Find your senators here or 

Call the Senate switchboard and they'll connect you:  (202) 224-3121

Here's the Message: 

 "Please vote NO on the Toomey Amendment #2217 which would kill the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program." 

 
12 Jun 2012    IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for Organic and Sustainable Farms Webinar

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for

Organic and Sustainable Farms Webinar

Free but please register

 

IPM for Organic farmers-web tools, scouting and smart pest management

June 21, Thursday from 2-3:30 EST 

·        Are you a bit nervous about the pests that may attack your crops this year?

·        Do you have your scouting plan ready?

·        Do you know how to calculate degree days for the key pests in your field?

 
12 Jun 2012    Perennial Wheat and Grains Field Day

Perennial Wheat and Grains Field Day-Seeking Organic Field Crop Farmers Perspectives

On June 27, Wednesday at the Kellogg Biological Station the Michigan State University Perennial Wheat team, led by Dr. Sieg Snapp, will host a field day to visit the various plots of perennial wheat and intermediate wheat grass (one of its parents). This event is seeking organic and sustainable farmers’ input on qualities sought to grow a perennial grain. If you are a farmer and interested in attending please contact Vicki Morrone at 517-282-3557 or sorrone@msu.edu. The event will be from 8:30 - 4:00. Note that farmers pre-registered and participating in the evaluation will be compensated for their time and travel. This event is open to educators, researchers and farmers. Please pass the word and carpool to KBS Dairy Barn for the event.Field day PW 2012bg.pdf Open this flyer for details of the event. We look forward to seeing you there.  All interested are invited to attend!!

 
12 Jun 2012    Protect Farmer Choice in Seed
Protect Farmer Choice in Seed
Ask Your Senators to Support the Tester Farm Bill Amendment

Senator Jon Tester will soon introduce a Farm Bill amendment that aims to improve seed and breed choices for American farmers, strengthen U.S. agriculture, and bolster food security.  

 

Call your senators today and ask them to support Senator Tester's Farm Bill amendment to enhance farmer access to improved seeds and breeds. (If you live in Montana, call Senator Tester to thank him!)

 
1 Jun 2012    June Issue of Michigan Organic Connections


June Michigan Organic Connections

 
29 May 2012    Arts and Eats Now Accepting Participants for the 2012 Tour

We are pleased to let you know that the Arts and Eats  rural back roads culinary and culture tour is accepting applications from artists, eateries, and specialty crop farms who wish to be a stop/site on the 2012 tour.  Click here for the press release announcing details. Sites are in Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent, and Van Buren Counties.  Applications are due June 15th.

More information is available on the website www.artsandeats.org

 
25 May 2012    Free Webinar
FREE WEBINAR
Integrated Pest Management for Organic farmers-web tools, scouting and understanding degree days
June 21, Thursday from 2:00-3:30 (EST)
 
 Are you a bit nervous about the pests that may attack your crops this year?? Do you have your scouting plan ready?? Do you know how to calculate degree days for the key pests in your field??
 
If these questions have you thinking then perhaps you should join us for a webinar on understanding and setting up an IPM program for your farm!!  All smart farmers  scout their fields to be ready for pest occurrences, but especially organic farmers who use multiple tools to manage pests. Having a good idea if and when insects will attack is the first step to smart pest management. 

 
6 Apr 2012    MOFFA Member Survey

Tell us what you think!


We'd love to get your feedback

We are seeking input from our organic community. Please take just a few minutes to answer the few questions that are presented here so that your volunteer MOFFA board may have some insight into the issues, interests, and conversations that you feel would best serve both the agricultural and consumer sector these coming months.  Our attempt to pose relevant queries included submittals from the entire board, with Melissa Hornaday, John Biernbaum, and Carolyn Lowery honing the material to a relevant form. Your input is very much appreciated!

Thank You!

Click here to take survey

 
14 Mar 2012    Applications for NRCS Organic Initiative Due March 30

Applications for NRCS Organic Initiative Due March 30

EAST LANSING, March 6, 2012 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service reminds potential applicants to contact their local NRCS office soon to find out if they are eligible for the agency’s Organic Initiative. Applications for the second ranking period of 2012 are due at NRCS offices by close of business on March 30, 2012

 
11 Mar 2012    USDA News

Conservation Reserve Program Initiative for Wetlands and Grasslands

On Friday, March 2, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Initiative to preserve wetlands and grasslands through a continuous signup process for up to one million acres of land targeted in the three following areas:
• New Continuous Pollinator Practice – up to 100,000 acres
• Increased Acreage for Wetland Restoration – up to 200,000 acres
• Restoration of Critical Grassland Ecosystems

Read more...

USDA Announces Two New Conservation Initiatives

USDA recently announced two new initiatives, the Highly Erodible Cropland Initiative within the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the expanded On-Farm Energy Audits Initiative within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Read more...

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: USDA Releases Report and Compass

On Wednesday, February 29 USDA released its Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) report and introduced the Compass, an expansive new resource for the KYF2 initiative.  The initiative was launched in 2009 to enhance coordination and efficiency among the various USDA agencies and programs that work to build local and regional farm and food systems.  Read more...

USDA Funding Available for Organic Research

This week, USDA announced the availability of $3.8 million in grants to fund research on organic production systems, under the Integrated Organic Transitions Program administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  Read more...

USDA Solicits Stakeholder Input on Agricultural Research

Last week, over 150 people attended a stakeholder listening session to provide feedback on ways to improve the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) – USDA’s largest competitive grants program that funds agricultural research, education, and extension projects.  The session was hosted in Washington, D.C. at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – the federal agency responsible for administering AFRI.  Read more...

 
10 Mar 2012    Save the Date

 
10 Mar 2012    March 2012 Michigan Good Food Newsletter

March 2012 Michigan Good Food Newsletter

 
28 Feb 2012    Whole Farm Planning

 
28 Feb 2012    Funding Available for Conservation Organic Farming Practices

To view this poeting as a web page, go here.

Funding Available for Conservation Organic Farming Practices

The $50 million EQIP program, (a huge victory of OFRF’s policy efforts), is providing financial and technical assistance to growers who implement innovative conservation practices.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

Period 2 Submission Deadline: Friday, March 30, 2012

To apply, visit your USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) local service center.

your USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) local service center.

Our friends at the National Center for Appropriate Technology have created a comprehensive National Center for Appropriate Technology have created a comprehensive National Center for Appropriate Technology have created a comprehensive info site for applicants, including links to all of the necessary documents for the program.

info site for applicants, including links to all of the necessary documents for the program.

Conserve Organically!

Maureen Wilmot, Executive Director

 
23 Feb 2012    Food Safety Traceability Workshops

 While both farm food safety and product traceability are important topics, there are many unresolved issues with both GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) and GHP (Good Handling Practices).  MOFFA is posting this announcement solely for information purposes.

Having an effective and farm-specific Good Agricultural and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) plan helps minimize the risk of food contamination at the farm and processing levels, and having a traceability plan is one of the most important parts of passing a food safety audit and getting certified. A good traceability plan could mean the difference between a grower having his or her entire farm shut down or having one portion of a field excluded from harvest in the case of a recall.

 
19 Feb 2012    Farmers vs. Monsanto Say Spread the Word

Dear Friend,

On January 31, 55 family farmers and plaintiffs traveled to New York to take part in the initial phase of the potentially landmark case Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto in order to protect farmers from genetic trespass by Monsanto’s GMO seed, which contaminates organic and non-GMO farmer’s crops and opens them up to abusive lawsuits.
The hearing in Manhattan Federal District Court was centered on Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the case and Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald heard arguments from attorneys on both sides. Farmers were encouraged by Judge Buchwald’s familiarity with the case and her announcement that she would make a decision in the next 60 days, no later than March 31st.
In many cases farmers are forced to stop growing certain organic and conventional crops to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America’s farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts. Due to these aggressive lawsuits, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.

Farmers need your voice today. Please spread the word.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/i_support_farmers_vs__monsanto/

 
17 Feb 2012    One Week Left to Register for the Michigan Farmers Market Conference

You have one week left to register for the first annual Michigan Farmers Market Association Conference. The deadline to register is Friday, February 24.

 
9 Feb 2012    Info and opportunity with the MSU Organic Reporting Session March 2

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to invite you to present at the Michigan State University Organic Reporting Session on Friday, March 2. This is the pre day of our MSU ANR week and offers a great chance to connect with others conducting research and providing education in organic production as well as Michigan Farmers who grow organic food .  As you see below a busy day is planned that includes lunch time discussion, led by farmers, research reports, student poster contest presenting their research and a panel discussion led by farmers sharing how they are managing their farm as they dodge Mother Nature's Curve Balls.  This year Roger Blobaum  from CERES Trust will join us to present an overview of their grant program, supporting research conducted by faculty and graduate students at MSU and throughout the midwest.

Cheers,

Vicki Morrone

 
1 Feb 2012    Don't Forget! Everybody Eats - February 10 & 11

Every Body Eats

Lansing’s third annual local food system conference, “Everybody Eats: Cultivating Food Democracy,” will begin on Friday, February 10th with a keynote by Katherine Kelly, founder and Executive Director of Cultivate Kansas City, at 7:30 p.m. in Lansing. The conference will continue Saturday, February 11th at 8:30 a.m. with more than 20 workshops and a luncheon keynote address by Malik Yakini, Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. “Everybody Eats” builds on earlier local food system conferences and will bring people together to explore opportunities for optimizing local resources, supporting local farmers and businesses, addressing health, hunger and food sovereignty issues in our community. 

 
31 Jan 2012    Farmer Participatory Research Webinar
If you are interested in conducting or participating in on farm research this webinar is for you!  On Farm Research (OFR)  is when farmers conduct research on their farm with guidance from researchers (often the land grant university such as Michigan State University) and often times  the same or similar research as what is being done on research sites. OFR is a great way to check the feasibility for a practice to be implemented on a farm or check a research question out in different settings (soils, climates, with different equipment, etc). This webinar is free, you do need internet but no microphone or camera. Even without internet you can listen on a telephone.  
 
26 Jan 2012    January 2012 Michigan Organic Connections Newsletter

Please enjoy our January 2012 Michigan Organic Connections Newsletter!

Want to be added to our email list? E-mail us at moffaorganic@gmail.com.

 
25 Jan 2012    Interested in Sustainable Pest Management?

Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce the first Integrated Pest Management Academy

 

The Academy will be held February 20-21, 2012 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, MI. Registration for this information-packed, two-day program is only $225 when you register before February 13.

 
25 Jan 2012    Last Call for ORE

Don't miss the last call on March 9, 2012

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)

It's not exactly clear how much OREI funding will be included in the 2012 Farm Bill. This is what OFRF is fighting for everyday!

 
24 Jan 2012    Four Season Produce Co-op Food Safety Sessions

Four Season Produce Co-op Food Safety Sessions

Learn about on-farm food safety while growing produce in fields and in hoophouses year-round to become food safety certified to market, as a group, to hospital and university customers.

 
23 Jan 2012    Farm Record Keeping Workshop

FARM RECORD KEEPING WORKSHOP

January 28, 2012

9:00 AM to 12:30PM

FARMERS LEARN: Financing the Farm Operation

    Agricultural Lending Review

    Records for obtaining loans

 
23 Jan 2012    Everybody Eats: Cultivating Food Democracy to be held February 10th - 11th, 2012 Lansing, Michigan

Lansing’s third annual local food system conference, “Everybody Eats: Cultivating Food Democracy,” will begin on Friday, February 10th with a keynote by Katherine Kelly, founder and Executive Director of Cultivate Kansas City, at 7:30 p.m. in Lansing. The conference will continue Saturday, February 11th at 8:30 a.m. with more than 20 workshops and a luncheon keynote address by Malik Yakini, Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. “Everybody Eats” builds on earlier local food system conferences and will bring people together to explore opportunities for optimizing local resources, supporting local farmers and businesses, addressing health, hunger and food sovereignty issues in our community. 

 
15 Dec 2011    NRCS Announces FY 2012 CSP Sign Up

INFORMATION ALERT

2012 Conservation Stewardship Program Sign-Up

On Friday, December 9, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that the fiscal year (FY) 2012 ranking period cutoff for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is January 13, 2012.

Interested farmers and ranchers have until January 13, 2012, to complete the initial application form to compete for a spot in the 2012 enrollment class for the program.

To sign up, producers should visit their NRCS local service center.

 
10 Dec 2011    Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's (OEFFA) 33rd Annual Conference

Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference:

Online Registration Now Open

Press Release

Granville, OhioRegistration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 33rd annual conference, Sowing the Seeds of Our Food Sovereignty, February 18-19, 2012 in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, the event draws more than 1,000 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest, and has sold out in advance the past two years. This year’s conference will feature keynote speakers Woody Tasch and Andrew Kimbrell; more than 70 informative, hands-on workshops; two featured pre-conference events on February 17; a trade show; a fun and educational kids’ conference and child care area; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.

 
1 Nov 2011    Project GREEEN Priorities

These are the priorities that MOFFA has identified to guide MSU researchers with priorities of research and outreach to best help Michigan’s organic farmers. MSU researchers refer to this list of priorities developed by various commodity teams and non-profit groups serving farmers, such as MOFFA, when they are seeking funds through Project GREEEN (see www.greeen.msu.edu) to fund research that is in line with needs of Michigan’s agriculture industry. Below are the priorities identified by MOFFA. The board worked to develop priorities that are practical and timely. These can be changed annually if needed so please share your ideas of what are priorities to develop better understand of organic agriculture systems.

 
20 Oct 2011    2011 Eastern Upper Peninsula Local Foods Summit

This event is a result of several meetings held earlier this year and some of the feedback we got as a result of the survey done in the Eastern UP and the UP Ag Assessment. Join us to further the discussion about how to address local food issues in the region.

 
18 Oct 2011    Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development Accepting Applications for State Pesticide Notification and Organic Farm Registries

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division (PPPMD) annually publishes two registries intended to protect Michigan citizens -- the Pesticide Notification Registry and the Certified Organic Farm Registry.

The Pesticide Notification Registry allows persons with a physician-diagnosed condition to be notified by commercial pesticide application firms before applications are made on turf or ornamental plants on properties adjacent to their primary residence.  To be added to the Pesticide Notification Registry, an applicant must submit the Pesticide Application Notification Registry application, Physician’s Certification form indicating the applicant’s condition and any additional distance requirements for notification, and Additional Properties Listing form showing adjacent and other properties within the distance of notification.

 
10 Oct 2011    Concerned about GMOs or GEOs?*

According to the Organic Center, "GE (genetically engineered)crops have been responsible for an increase of 383 million pounds of herbicide use in the U.S. over the first 13 years of commercial use of GE crops (1996-2008)."

 
4 Oct 2011    Michigan Small Farms Conference Announced

The 13th Annual Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference will be held Saturday, January 28, 2012 at Grayling High School, Grayling MI.  The theme is Growing a Food and Farming Legacy.  Keynote will be a tribute presentation of Chris Bedford's last film "Getting Real about Food and the Future" with commentary by Stephanie Mills.  Chris was a documentary film maker, advocate of organic food, supporter of local foods in schools and co-founder of Sweetwater Local Foods Market in Muskegon.  For more information go to www.smallfarmconference.com, northmichsmallfarmconf@gmail.com or call 231-838-8093.

 
16 Sep 2011    Organic Farming is Superior to Conventional Agriculture According to 30-Year Comparative Study

Rodale Institute today announces the latest results of the Farming Systems Trial, America’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming practices. Originally created to study the transition from conventional to organic production, this 30-year study also examined productivity, soil quality, energy and economics.

“The next step forward is to educate growers, whether they are conventional or organic, in the methods used in the Farming Systems Trial to assure equal or better yields through farming practices that do not harm the environment.”

Key findings show:

  • Organic yields match or surpass conventional yields.
  • Organic yields outperform conventional yields in years of drought.
  • Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
  • Organic farming uses 45 percent less energy and is more efficient.
  • Conventional agricultural systems produce 40 percent more greenhouse gases.
  • Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional farming systems.
 
1 Sep 2011    MOFFA Welcomes New Office Administrator

MOFFA recently welcomed, Kay Tremble, as our new Office Administrator. Kay is a skilled Administrative Assistant with more than twelve years of experience and a continued desire to learn and grow both professionally and personally. Kay is a dedicated member of her childrens' school district as well as an active member in her community. She is excited to begin this partnership with MOFFA and grow her knowledge in organic foods & farming to make a better life and enviornment in which she and her husband can raise their four children.

 
9 Aug 2011    2011 Organic Cost Share!

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is pleased to announce that certification cost share assistance will be available to eligible Michigan organic handlers and producers for the period of October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.

The program is offered on behalf of the USDA National Organic Cost Share Program which is authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill.   The application for cost share reimbursement as well as instructions on how to register as a vendor for the State of Michigan can be downloaded here.

 
1 Aug 2011    Field Day at AlMar Orchards

OTFA Field Day at Al-Mar Orchard in Flushing MI
Saturday, August 6th, 9:00AM to 5:00PM

Catch up with OTFA charter member Jim Koan and his son Jake Koan at
the AlMar Orchard Field Day. Jim and Jake will be on hand to share
their insights into the art of growing organic apples under always
unpredictable Midwestern growing conditions. Organic researchers from
MSU will also be present to share some of the ongoing projects
happening at AlMar. Topics to be discussed will range from on-farm
production of heritage and "organic friendly" apple tree varieties to
novel approaches to organic pest and weed management. Be sure to
reserve your spot today so you don't miss out on this fun and
informative day!

 

Cost is $20 per person (includes lunch). Registrants can pay when they arrive.

Please register by Tuesday, Aug 2, by contacting OTFAinfo@gmail.com or 715-808-0060

The address for GPS or Mapquest searches is: 1431 Duffield R, Flushing, MI 48433

 
31 Jul 2011    Certification Cost Share Assistance

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is pleased to announce that certification cost share assistance will be available to eligible Michigan organic handlers and producers for the period of October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.

 
21 Jul 2011    MOFFA Seeks Office Administrator

Moffa is solicitng applications for a part time office administrator. A summary of the position responsibilities and instructions for application can be downloaded here.

 
21 Jul 2011    MIFMA's On-Farm Food Safety Field Days

Register today for MIFMA's On-Farm Food Safety Field Days. The Michigan Farmers Market Association with funding from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will  be hosting three on-farm field days this summer for Michigan farmers, market managers and market stakeholders to discuss how to ensure food safety on the farm from production to the market.

 
21 Jul 2011    2011 Good Food Awards

The Good Food Awards launches its second year with a call for entries to American food producers crafting the nation’s best tasty, authentic, and responsible foods. All entered products will be judged at a blind tasting with Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Amanda Hesser, Nell Newman and 80 other food movement leaders. Deadline for entry is September 1, so enter online today at www.goodfoodawards.org!

 
7 Jun 2011    Michigan Cider Maker's Guild Summer Event

“Value-added Packaging for Michigan Cider:  
Is there Intelligent Life – and Profit – beyond Plastic Jugs?”

 
29 May 2011    New 'Farm Finance' Webinar Now Online

New 'Farm Finance' Webinar Now Online

NCAT and USDA RMA Offer Practical Advice for Beginning Farmers

on Organizing and Understanding Their Numbers

Beginning farmers and anyone else considering farming have a new tool for one of agriculture's most daunting tasks--crunching the numbers.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), with funding from the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), has just posted a new webinar that can smooth the road for anyone who is beginning a journey in agriculture and wants to get comfortable with handling finances. The webinar, "Farm Finances: Organizing and Understanding Your Numbers," is available now at https://attra.ncat.org/webinars/.

 

 
24 May 2011    Opportunity to Weigh in on the Farm Bill!

It's not every day, or even every year, that you have the opportunity to participate in the formulation of federal legislation that determines the direction of agriculture in the United States. Every 5 years, Congress takes up the Farm Bill, and the time for the 2012 Farm Bill debate has come. In Michigan you have a unique opportunity to influence the Farm Bill's potential to support organic agriculture because the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee is your own Senator Debbie Stabenow.

 
11 May 2011    Classes on Cottage Food Industry

The Entrepreneur Institute of Mid-Michigan, Ingham County MSU Extension, The Ingham County Land Bank and Eric Schertzing, Ingham County Treasurer are offering a series of classes called, “How to Start a Small-Scale Food Business: An Entrepreneurial Opportunity for Residents of the Lansing Tri-County Region.”

MOFFA supported the cottage food bill with MOFFA boardmember Chris Bardenhagen providing testimony during the recent vote in Lansing.

 
5 May 2011    OFRF Grants

Santa Cruz, CA (May 3, 2011) –The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is proud to announce it has awarded 314 grants totaling close to $2.7 million as it begins its 21st year.

Next deadline for applications is May 16

 
5 May 2011    OFRF to Hire an Upper Midwest Field Organizer

OFRF seeks to hire an experienced organizer to work on the ground in Michigan and Ohio to organize support for organic and cultivate congressional champions in the 2012 Farm Bill.   OFRF has identified Michigan and Ohio as two top states with significant representation on congressional agriculture committees charged with drafting the 2012 Farm Bill. The Upper Midwest Field Organizer ensures that organic family farmers, organic farming advocates, consumers, and other diverse stakeholders in Michigan and Ohio actively participate in the 2012 Farm Bill process.  OFRF is gearing up for its 2012 Farm Bill campaign, and the Upper Midwest Field Organizer will be responsible for building our Michigan and Ohio networks and strategically engaging organic family farmers and advocates throughout the farm bill debate.

 
22 Apr 2011    New farmers’ market to open on Kalamazoo’s Northside

The Douglass Community Association and Fair Food Matters are collaborating to bring a new farmers’ market to Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood.

The Douglass Farmers’ Market will be located at the Douglass Community Association at 1000 West Paterson Street. The market will be open to the public from 3-7 p.m. on May 24, June 28, July 26 and August 23 (the fourth Tuesday of each month).

Market Master Erica Barajas, of Fair Food Matters, said the market has two initial goals: To help increase access to fresh, locally grown produce in the north and east side neighborhoods; and to create an enjoyable, safe community event that brings people together.

The market is currently seeking vendors who produce and sell vegetables, fruits, baked goods, prepared foods, plants, flowers, seeds or crafts. Applications are due Wednesday, May 4.

 
11 Apr 2011    USDA Offers Second Round of Conservation Funding for Organic Producers

LANSING, April 11, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering organic producers another opportunity to receive financial assistance for implementing new conservation measures. The USDA will conduct a second round of 2011 Organic Initiative funding for producers who submit applications by May 20, 2011.

 
1 Mar 2011    2011 MOC Session Descriptions

The 2011 MOC session desciptions have been released!

Download them here!

 
19 Feb 2011    2011 MOC Schedule!

MOFFA is please to provide the program schedule for the 2011 MOC "Keeping the Local in Organic"

Download the schedule here.

Dowload the Firday event flyer here.

Hope to see you there!

 
8 Feb 2011    2011 Michigan Organic Scholarship

MOFFA is pleased to announce that we will be offering student scholarships for the 2011 Michigan Organic Conference.

There are two levels of scholarship this year:

  1. Full ($50 value) which requires the recepient to donate 1/2 a day of volunteer labor at the conference
  2. Half ($25 value) which requires the recepient to pay the remaining portion of the  student registration ($25)

Eligibility:

Any full time student enrolled in highschool, technical program, or university program.

To Apply:

Please send an email to moffaorganic@gmail.com with :

  1. "2011 Michigan Organic Scholarship" in the subject line.
  2. Please include your: full name, address, phone, email and school affiliation in the email body.
  3. Please indicate which scholarship (half or whole) you are applying for.
  4. Applications must be received by Friday Feb 25 to be considered.

The 2011 MOC student scholarships are made available by a generous donation from George and Anne Bird.

 
30 Dec 2010    Growing Our Food System: Nourishing Our People II

The Greater Lansing Food Bank has announced a local food's conference to be held on February 17, 2011. The conference is titled "Growing Our Food System: Nourishing Our People, II.”This is their second conference meant to bring folks involved and interested in our local food systems to discuss how we might strengthen and enhance it for everyone – from farm to table. Last year’s conference had nearly 150 attendees representing food pantries, growers, policy makers, retailers, institutional kitchens and wholesalers. We want to continue and expand the conversations and the circle and would relish your involvement.

 
13 Dec 2010    2011 MOC Announced!

The 2011 Michigan Organic Conference "Keeping the Local in Organic" will be held at the Kellogg Convention Center located on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing MI. The conference will be held between March 4 and 5 and will include: a keynote speaker, educational sessions, an organic luncheon, and the popular "Taste of Michigan" event. Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute will be our keynote speaker.

 
12 Oct 2010    MSU Student Organic Farm Seeking Applicants for 2011 Organic Farmer Training Program

The Organic Farmer Training Program was developed to address the increasing need for small- scale organic growers. Individuals who wish to use local food systems to promote sustainability are good candidates for this program, including: New and Beginning Farmers, Urban and Community Farmers and Gardeners, Educators, Those Interested in Sustainable Agriculture.

 
12 Oct 2010    MSU to Offer Vegetable 201 Training!

This one day workshop to be held on November 4, 2010 in Kalamazoo MI, provides insights from MSU extension educators and specialists with expertise in commercial vegetable production and management. The workshyop is intended for those who have some experience with vegetable gardening and have explored or considered turning it into a commercial venture, or for those who would like to add a vegetable enterprise to an exisitn gfarm business. This program will provide a general overview of commercial vegetable production and resources to help you succeed. Spanish translation will be provided. Traduccion al espanol se.

 
10 Sep 2010    MOFFA 2010 Annual Meeting

The 2010 MOFFA annual meeting will be held at Whetham Farms in Flushing MI on Sunday Septemebr 12 from 1-4PM.

The farm is located at 11230 W. Mt Morris Rd, Flushing MI. North of I-69 on M-13 (exit 123) about 10 miles, then east on Mt Morris Rd for 1 & 1/2 miles. Or west of I-75 from the Mt Morris Rd exit (#126) almost 7 miles. The farm is on the north side of the road between Nichols and Duffield Rds. The house number is on the dead tree next to the driveway - there is no sign announcing the farm.

Please click this link for a google map of the farm.

 
19 Aug 2010    Organic Cost Share Application Extended to September 15!

The Michigan Organic Food & Farm Alliance (MOFFA) is will manage the 2010 organic cost share progra, allowing our state’s organic farmers to be partially reimburseed forf their organic certification costs. Download the necessary forms here. You will need a PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Cost share applications must be received by MOFFA no later than September 15, 2010.

 
11 Aug 2010    MOFFA in Action!

With the organically grown, downy reddish peach close to her nose, Shelby Township resident Nancy Rich draws in the intoxicatingly fresh scent during her shopping trip to Whole Foods in Rochester Hills.

“I have Crohn’s disease and I’ve found when I don’t have all those chemicals in my body (from conventionally grown foods) I feel much better. The food tastes much better, too,” Rich said. “It’s a little more expensive to shop organic, but your life is important.”

The organic food market continues holding a strong presence with consumers, as 75 percent claim to use organic foods, according to a national survey published in 2010 by The Hartman Group, a predominant consumer-culture consultancy and market research firm.

 

See original article in the Morning Sun Here.

 
11 Aug 2010    Building Health from the Ground Up

BUILDING HEALTH FROM THE GROUND UP
Many organic farmers are looking for ways to build soil quality that would provide better
yields. Morgan Composting Inc is teaming with Michigan State University to present a
program like no other. This two day event, August 18th and 19th will be taking place to
give farms answers to many soil, pest, and production questions.

Download a brochure here.

 
23 Jul 2010    MOFFA to Facilitate Organic Cost Share Program!

Michigan Organic Food & Farm Alliance to Facilitate
Organic Cost Share Program in Michigan


The 2008 Farm Bill included a cost- share program for certified organic farmers. For 2009, this program was offered to organic producers in Michigan through the Michigan Department of Agriculture. This year, due to budget constraints, the MDA is not able to offer this program, even though the funds are from the USDA. They have, however,  entered into an agreement that will allow Michigan Organic Food & Farm Alliance (MOFFA) to manage the program, allowing our state’s organic farmers to again get the cost share to reimburse part of their organic certification costs.

 
22 Jul 2010    July MOFFA Meeting

MichiganOrganic Food and Farm Alliance

July Meeting

DATE:                    Thursday, July 29, 2010     

TIME:                    12:00 – 4:00 PM

PLACE:MSU Crop and Soils Research and Teaching Farm, Beaumont Road just south of Mt. Hope

 
21 Jul 2010    Cottage Food Bill Signed into Law!

This week, Governor Granholm signed a package of bills into law that will allow certain homemade products (such as baked goods, jam, honey, vinegar, and maple syrup, granola, and popcorn) to be sold directly to Michigan consumers without the legal requirement that they be prepared in commercial kitchens. The intent of the law is to support farmers’ markets by allowing certain value-added products to be sold without the expense and trouble of preparing them in a licensed commercial kitchen. Only direct sales to consumers are permitted; no mail order sales or sales to grocery stores are allowed. The law takes effect immediately.

 
18 Jun 2010    2010 Conservation Stewardship Program

If you are considering enrolling in the USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in 2010, be sure to submit the basic 3-page application to your local NRCS office no later than Friday, June 25, 2010. This deadline was extended from the original deadline of June 11.

 
16 Jun 2010    Flint "Taste of the Market" this Weekend


TASTE of the MARKET this WEEK-END!
Recipes will include: Greek, Italian and American Turkey Burgers, Spring Rolls, Cheese Fondue,
Organic Cranberry and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

In the Big Top Tent on the Citizens Bank side of the Flint Farmers' Market from
11AM-2PM - Awesome Cooking Demos - Lots of Great Recipes - Tons of Helpful Tips - A Chance to Meet
the Chefs.  Bring the KIDS! Kids will enjoy their own hands-on Taste of the Market - they can learn
to make easy healthy snacks to have at home this summer!

 
8 Jun 2010    Organic Blueberry Session to Be featured at the 2010 NABREW Meeting

Come to beautiful west Michigan this summer to hear the latest advances in blueberry breeding, blueberry production, and blueberry crop protection. A two day program full of talks and posters is planned  in downtown Kalamazoo. There is something for everyone, including sessions on the state-of-the-science of organic blueberry production and blueberry genomics, with talks by the leaders in these fields. The tentative program is available on line.

 
6 Jun 2010    Save the USDA Organic Certification Cost Share Program!

A bill was introduced 05/19/2010 to kill the USDA NOP organic cost share program. This program has been an important factor in helping many farmers choose to go organic by supporting them in the difficult "transition" years. Liana Hoodes of the National Organic Campaign is asking for anecdotal stories of how important cost share is to farmers.  How that little amount of money made a big difference.  This information will be used in support of the certification cost share program.  Please forward to Liana at Liana@NationalOrganicCoalition.or

Download thsi  NOP document to learn more about the the cost share program.  I know that with the recent proposal to cut this program, there has been a lot of talk about it.  This might be useful for the US Chapters:

 

 

 

 
4 Jun 2010    Organic Tree Fruit Field Day to be held June 19th in Berrien Center, Michigan

Beginning as well as advanced tree fruit growers benefit from seeing organic management practices during the  growing season. The Organic Tree Fruit Association will sponsor its first field day of the summer on Saturday, June 19th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Earth First Farms, owned and operated by the Rosenfeld family in Berrien Center, MI. Find location at www.earthfirstfarms.com 

 
11 May 2010    Don't Panic, Go Organic

Don't Panic, Go Organic (visit Foreign Policy for original article)

Be not troubled by Robert Paarlberg's scaremongering. Organic practices can feed the world -- better, in fact, than wasteful industrial farming.

 
3 Mar 2010    INTIMATE CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL POLLAN

INTIMATE CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL POLLAN

Michael Pollan will be at Zingerman's Road House in Ann Arbor on Sunday, April 11, 2010 for a private reception at 5:30pm and a public "conversation" at 6pm. Seats are limited to 20 for the private reception and 100 for the conversation. Local organic food will be prepared by chef Alex Young.
 
8 Feb 2010    Student Scholarships for 2010 MOC!

 

For 2010 we are able to offer 20 scholarships for the $50 student registration.  We are accepting applications from community college and university students, recent graduates (within the last 3 years), participants in the MSU-Student Organic Farm Organic Farmer Training Program and members of the Michigan Young Farmers Coalition.

To apply please fill out the scholarship application, complete it and mail or electronically submit it by February 21. The scholarship program is made possible by the generous support of George and Anne Bird. 

 
3 Feb 2010    MOFFA Food Processing Trailer Request for Applications

MOFFA requests proposals from individuals, organizations, or groups to use the MOFFA Mobile Food Processing Unit for organic processing that includes education, outreach, and community development efforts that promote local and organic food. These efforts may involve, but are not limited to, small farm development, demonstrations, and learning opportunities related to food preparation and processing, promotion and growth of local markets, and other innovative projects that serve Michigan farmers and consumers. Partnership applications are encouraged. Download the proposal request for applications for more details.

 
31 Jan 2010    2010 Michigan Organic Conference Schedule Announced!

The Michigan Food and Farm Alliance (MOFFA) will sponsor the Michigan Organic Conference on March 5 and 6 at the Kellogg Convention and Hotel Center located on the Michigan State University Campus in East Lansing MI. This Year's conference is titled Michigan Organic: Seeds, Soil, and Health and features keynote addresses fromJeffrey Smith from the Insititute of Responsible Technology and C.R. Lawn of Fedco Seeds and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). The conference will also include educational sessions, and organic luncheon, exhibits and the popular "Taste of Michigan" event.The conference is dedicated in memory of long time MOFFA board members and Michigan organic activists Doug Murray and Nancy Jones-Keiser. Download  a conference flyer, conference schedule or conference registration form. Please visit our online registration page and confernece sponsor page for more information.

 
17 Jan 2010    Stop Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

USDA just released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on GE alfalfa and  NOW is your chance to demand that USDA protect organic food from GE contamination. Click on this link to register your dissent!

 
27 Oct 2009    Vilsack Mistakenly Pitched "GMOs-Feed-The-World" to an Audience of Experts--Oops

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was getting lots of appreciative applause and head nods from the packed hall at the Community Food Security Coalition conference today, held in Des Moines, Iowa. He described the USDA's plans to improve school nutrition, support local food systems, and work with the Justice Department to review the impact of corporate agribusiness on small farmers. But then, with time for only one more question, I was handed the microphone. "Mr. Secretary, may I ask a tough question on GMOs?"......

 
22 Oct 2009    2010 Michigan Organic Conference

The 2010 Michigan Organic Conference "Michigan Organic: Seeds, Soil and Health" will be held at the Kellogg Convention Center located on the Michigan State University campus in East Lanisng MI. The conference will be held between March 5 and 6 and will consist of a series of keynote speakers, educational sessions, and organic luncheon, and the popular "Taste of Michigan" event. Keynote speakers for this year's conference are: Jeffrey Smith from the Insititute of Responsible Technology and J.R. Lawn of Fedco Seeds and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). This years conference is dedicated in memory of long time MOFFA board members and Michigan organic activists Doug Murray and Nancy Jones-Keiser . Please check back for more information.

 
14 Oct 2009    Passing of Nancy Jones-Keiser Longtime MOFFA Board Member, Organic Acitivist, Educator, and Farmer

JONES-KEISER - Nancy W. Jones-Keiser was born in Bucks County, PA in 1947 on a cattle farmand passed away on September 28 2009. A birthright Quaker, she was raised by her father and grandmother, after her mother passed on when Nancy was 1 1/2. This shaped her life in many ways. She handled farm and gardening tools, cared for farm animals and garden plants....

 
13 Jul 2009    Michigan Organic Community and MOFFA Lose a Long-Time Organic Scientist-Farmer and Champion

PAW PAW – Douglas A. Murray, 55, of Paw Paw, MI. passed away at home, Monday morning, July 13, 2009, with his family at his side. Doug was born October 29th, 1953, in West Branch, MI, the son of Alan and Loa Murray....