Upcoming Educational Opportunities:

  • Anytime:
    • ATTRA Tutorials – self-guided and comprehensive multi-lesson tutorials in Scaling Up for Regional Markets, Pest Management, Farm Business Planning & Marketing for Beginnners, and Getting Started in Farming.
    • USDA Science & Technology Training Library – contains hundreds of archived webinars on Bioenergy, Conservation, Forestry, and Sustainable Forests.  Lists of upcoming webinars are also available on the site.
    • Farmer-to-Farmer Podcast with Chris Blanchard.  "Chris is a veteran farmer and educator who draws on over 25 years of experience to get at the big ideas and practical details that go into making a farm work.  Whether his guests are discussing employment philosophy or the best techniques for cultivating carrots, his down-to-earth conversations with experienced farmers - and the occasional non-farmer - will be time well spent."
    • Summaries of presentations at the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium are now available online at http://eorganic.info/node/16778. Many of the workshops and keynote presentations were recorded live and may be viewed via the eOrganic YouTube channel.

 


GroupGAP Informational Session — Feb 3

Friday, February 3, 1-3pm, Allen Market Place, Free.  Interested in becoming GAP certified? Learn more about the GroupGAP Program with an informational session led by Phil Britton of Cherry Capital Foods.  The program is geared towards small and mid sized farmers working as a group to learn and practice industry-recognized food safety practices. Register at https://goo.gl/to680y


14th Annual Michigan Family Farms Conference — Feb 4

Network, learn, and build sustainable farms.  This customized forum for beginning, small-scale and culturally diverse farmers includes energizing workshops, uplifting speakers, marvelous food, exhibitors, a youth track ... all within an inspiring and supportive atmosphere.  Saturday, February 4th, 9:00 - 4:30 at Marshall High School, 701 N. Marshall Avenue, Marshall, MI.  Check the website for more information as it becomes available.


OEFFA Conference: Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow — Feb 9-11

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's 38th Annual Conference will take place Thursday, February 9 through Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Dayton Convention Center, E. 22 5th St., Dayton, OH 45402. This event offers lots of educational and networking opportunities for farmers, backyard growers, home cooks, homesteaders, and others committed to local food, sustainable agriculture, and green living, including:

Nearly 80 educational workshops on a wide range of food, farming, and policy topics;

  • A three-day trade show with 70+ businesses, organizations, and government agencies offering food, books, products, information, and services;
  • Four full-day pre-conference intensive workshops led by farmers for farmers on farm business planning, niche fruit and poultry production, and growing bionutrient rich food;
  • Keynote speakers Jim Riddle, an organic farmer, inspector, educator, and policy analyst; and Robyn O’Brien, a popular author and food advocate, known as “food’s Erin Brokovich”;
  • The Contrary Farmers' Social at 2nd Street Market featuring food, drinks, and a remembrance of Ohio's Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon, led by David Kline of Farming Magazine;
  • The Cream of the Crop Banquet on Friday, February 10 featuring a dinner celebrating Ohio's farming community;
  • A Farm Land of Opportunity reception, on-farm innovation discussion and reception, and an OEFFA oral history discussion;
  • Activities for kids and teens
  • Locally-sourced, from-scratch lunches; raffle; book table; morning yoga and ta chi; book signings, and much more.

Register by January 23 for Ohio's largest sustainable food and farm conference, now in its new home in Dayton!  Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, (614) 421-2022, oeffa@oeffa.org.  For more information and to register: www.oeffa.org/conference2017.


Understanding Institutional and Wholesale Markets: Products and Pricing — Feb 10

Friday, February 10, 1-3pm, Allen Market Place, Free

Institutional and wholesale markets can be a key component of a successful farm business. From farmers’ experiences and information about their sales, learn about which products are in demand from institutional and wholesale buyers and how to price them. Workshop coordinated by Colleen Matts, Farm to Institution Specialist with MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, with Erin Caudell, Hoophouse Outreach Specialist and Owner of Local Grocer & Flint Ingredient Company and other local farmers. Register at https://goo.gl/NrZ0el.


Planning Your Garden Year — Feb 11

Saturday, February 11, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration. Plan the layout, crops, and planting schedule for your home garden. Workshop led by Rita O’Brien of Hunter Park GardenHouse. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Getting Started with Hoophouse Management — Feb 13

With Collin Thompson.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.  Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Beginning Beekeeping and Beyond — Feb 15

Charlotte Hubbard will teach this beginning beekeeping course. We’ll spend about the first hour reviewing what it takes – costs, equipment, time, location and other requirements for success. We’ll then review the process for getting going, including bee installation, critical early season checks, and key pointers for helping your new best (insect) friends, before wrapping up with Q & A.

This crash course in beekeeping will leave you with a better understanding of how to get started.  Cost: $30 // Register here.


2017 Southwest Michigan Food Safety Summit and Grower Produce Safety Course — Feb 15-16

The Second Annual Southwest Michigan Food Safety Summit will be held February 15th and 16th at Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Groves Campus at 7107 Elm Valley Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.

As part of the summit this year, Michigan State University Extension will host the Food and Drug Administration-authorized Produce Safety Alliance Grower Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) certification course. This course will run from 8:30am-12:30pm both days and is limited to one participant per organization and a total of 60 participants.

Additional sessions offered in the afternoons include a keynote speech, hands-on post-harvest handling training, GroupGAP information, and a food safety plan writing workshop. More than one individual from each operation may attend these sessions. Those interested in learning about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP's), produce safety, co-management, and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule are invited to participate.

Registration deadline:  Feb. 10, 2017, or until full. The summit is free to attend but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register see https://events.anr.msu.edu/SWMFS17/

Sponsored by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.


Group GAP and FSMA — Feb 23

It's time to get up to speed! Who must comply? By when? What does this have to do with Post-Harvest Food Safety Training? How do hoophouses fit into the mix?

Food safety and good agricultural practices have steadily become a requirement to sell to wholesale outlets. Now many direct sale customers are requiring certain food safety standards be adopted. Phil Tocco, MSU Extension pre-harvest food safety educator and Michelle Walk, MSU Extension Educator, will touch on the key concepts of the voluntary model of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), including Group GAP, and discuss what farms with food sales of more than $25,000 must do to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a rule that is now final, and the earliest compliance dates for some farms begin one year after the effective date of the final rule, depending on scale and circumstance.

Phil will walk participants through a mock audit onsite at Pond Hill Farm. We will discuss the importance of implementing and communicating food safety practices even if you are not seeking certification.

A simple soup supper will be included. Get your tickets here. For more information, contact Jen at 231-622-5252.


MOSES Organic Farming Conference — Feb 23-25

MOSES is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming.  The conference takes place at the La Crosse Center, 300 Harborview Plaza, in charming downtown La Crosse, Wis.  Check the website for more information as it becomes available.  From now through August 15, 2016, MOSES is sponsoring a photo contest — your farm could be featured on the covere of the program for the 2017 MOSES Organic Farming Conference!  More details on the photo contest here.


Developing a Farm Safety Plan — Feb 24

Friday, February 24, 1-3pm, Allen Market Place, Free. Join us as farm food safety expert Phil Tocco, of MSU Extension, explains food safety concerns for farmers. Learn how to identify potential hazards and complete a meaningful food safety plan. Register at https://goo.gl/1BeMSY.


Getting Started with Maple Syrup — Feb 27

With Bob and Sue Battel, MSU Extension and Battel's Sugar Bush.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.

Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Perennial Fruits & Nuts for Your Farm and Homestead — Mar 2

Trevor Newman, of ecological design firm Roots to Fruits, will share details and stories about common and uncommon fruit and nut crops adapted to Michigan. Learn about obscure old world garden crops like currants and gooseberries, as well as emerging commercial fruits and nuts like saskatoon, honeyberry, hazelnuts, chestnuts, and much more.

This class will give participants a dose of inspiration for making their land more fruitful; perfect for anyone interested in orcharding and out of the ordinary fruit and nut crops.  Get your tickets here!


Financial and Accounting for Food Businesses — Mar 3

Friday, March 3, 1-3pm, Allen Market Place, Free.  Designed with a focus on food businesses, this introductory session helps with the basics of financial management including simple accounting systems and how to apply the information from financial statements to help you manage your business.  Tips on what to keep track of, how to price your product, and what taxes you are responsible for will be covered. Cash flow analysis, breakeven points, and startup costs are also covered with specific food business examples. Workshop led by Tom Donaldson of LCC Small Business Development Center. Register at https://goo.gl/iSrYtl.


Plant Therapy — Mar 4

Saturday, March 4, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration.  Did you know plants can be used as a form of therapy? Learn more about which plants to use and incorporating them into your home garden. Workshop led by Lacey Ingrao of the Michigan Horticulture Therapy Association. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


MOFFA Organic Intensives — Mar 9

For the third year, MOFFA will offer Organic Intensives, a full day of focused learning on one of three topics -- field crop marketing, pest management, and organic gardening.  Registration is open now -- be sure to reserve your place before February 15 to take advantage of the earlybird rate.  More info at http://moffa.net/OI-2017.html


Michigan Organic Reporting Session — Mar 10

This will be the ninth consecutive year for the Michigan Organic Reporting Session.  The Reporting Session unites university and extension researchers with farmers of all expertise to discuss organic production practices for field crop, fruit and vegetable production. We will post more information about this year's session as it becomes available.


Grain Day — Mar 11

The Michigan grain economy is about to boom. Want to be a part of it at this early stage? Join us for a day-long mini conference on all things grain. Meet the movers and shakers of the Michigan grain movement. This year, we welcome Andrea Hazzard of Hazzard Free Farm, Alisa Crawford of DeZwaan Mill, and Jonathan Scheel of Scheel Family Farm who will be speaking on targeted aspects of grain growing, processing and marketing.

There will be two concurrent sessions happening, with two morning break-outs to choose from, and four more to choose from after lunch. Lunch will be locally-sourced and is included in your ticket price. Enjoy post-workshop networking at the Local Grains Cocktail Hour with a cash bar.

Get your tickets here!


Getting Started with Fencing and Watering Systems for Livestock — Mar 13

With Jerry Lindquist and Kevin Gould, MSU Extension.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.

Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Soil Care — Mar 18

Saturday, March 18, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration.  Create healthy soil for your backyard space or community garden. Workshop led by Brian Allnutt of Detroit Farm and Garden. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Vegetable Transplant Production Success — Mar 19

Join us at one of Michigan’s oldest and largest diverse organic vegetable farms, Cinzori Farm, for a look at their strategies for large scale transplant production as they grow transplants for more than 40 acres of vegetables. Denae Friedhiem will also share techniques and lessons learned from the 13 years of vegetable transplant production at the MSU Student Organic Farm.  Presenters: Anthony Cinzori, Cinzori Farm,  Denae Friedheim, MSU Student Organic Farm. Cost: $150 for 1st person from farm ($40 for additional). Location: Cinzori Farm, 10506 F Drive South, Ceresco, MI 49033 [directions].  For more information: www.msuorganicfarm.org/farmer-field-school.html.
 


Getting Started with Blueberries — Mar 27

With Mark Longstroth, MSU Extension.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.

Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Can-Do Camp— Mar 29-Jun 21

We are happy to share that the Can-Do Kitchen is launching an evolution of our incubation programming. Can-Do Camp is a 12-week program of weekly classes for any aspiring food business owner.

Participants will receive our resource guides, step-by-step help on the necessary steps, and guidance on best practices of getting ready to launch a food business. We'll bring experts and experienced food businesses into Can-Do Camp giving you the chance to learn directly and have one to one time. You'll work alongside a cohort of peers who are experiencing similar challenges and also have helpful skills and experience.

The first step on the path to Can-Do Camp is to attend a Group Tour and receive an application. Applications are due on February 28th. Can-Do Camp begins March 29th. The startup cost is $250.

Sign up for a Tour (February 6th 6:30pm or February 18th 12:00) here: http://www.candokitchen.org/group-tours-information/.


Vermicomposting — Apr 1

Saturday, April 1, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse,$12 registration.  Learn about vermicomposting and how to start your own outdoor worm composting bin at home. Workshop led by MSU graduate research assistant, Brooke Comer and MSU horticulture student, Mary Haven. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Getting Started with Crop Nutrient Management — Apr 3

With Jim Isleib, MSU Extension.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.

Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Getting Started with Aquaculture — Apr 10

With Elliot Nelson, Michigan Sea Grant.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.

Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Gardening 101 — Apr 15

Saturday, April 15, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration.  Are you new to gardening? Learn the basics and skills to become a successful gardener. Workshop led by mom and daughter pair, Cindi McKenney and Leah Kate McKenney of Hunter Park GardenHouse. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Planning and Operating a Mixed Fruit Orchard — Apr 24

With Bob Tritten, MSU Extension.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.

Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Container Gardening — Apr 29

Saturday, April 29, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration.  Container gardening has become a popular form of flower, veggie and herb gardening and is ideal for people with little outdoors space or living in an urban setting. Workshop led by Leah Kate McKenney of Hunter Park GardenHouse. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Producing and Selling Eggs — May 8

With Dr. Darrin Karcher, Purdue UniversitySmall Vegetable Farm Systems, with Abbey Palmer of MSU North Farm.  Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.

Download the flyer for individual webinar descriptions, or find more information on the website.


Plants and Their Pollinators — May 13

Saturday, May 13, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration.  Need more productivity out of your garden? Learn more about which plants attract pollinators. Workshop led by former MSU perennial garden manager, Renata Reibitz. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Designing Garden Beds — May 27

Saturday, May 27, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration.  Learn how to design beautiful garden beds at home. Workshop led by recent MSU horticulture graduate, Ryan Betzer. To RSVP click the following link Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Organic Pest Management — Jun 10

 Saturday, June 10, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse, $12 registration.  Learn how to identify, prevent, and treat vegetable plant damage by common pests. Workshop led by Adam Ingrao of Bee Wise Farm. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


 Flower Arranging — Jul 8

Saturday, July 8, 12:30-2pm, at Hunter Park GardenHouse,$12 registration.  Learn how to create a beautiful, cut-flower garden, and which flower varieties work best for bouquets. Make and take home your own bouquet. Workshop led by MSU perennial garden manager, Bethany Troy. To RSVP click the following link at Eventbrite. For more info, contact Leah Kate McKenney at gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org or 517-999-3913.


Learn to Farm— Aug 30-Dec 15; Jan 8-May 4, 2018

Are you interested in learning how to farm?  The Novice Farmer Program might be what you are looking for.  The Novice Farmer Program is a pilot program combining nine on-line courses (18 credits) and a four-month (6 credits) on-farm experience to train participants in year-round organic farming. The program focuses on diversified nutrient dense crop production for local markets.  Participants gain a foundation of knowledge through the on-line courses and then develop competencies in farm skills and business planning through experiential learning opportunities that revolve around the daily operation of MSU’s North Farm located in Michigan’s upper peninsula.  The program is designed to give participants a strong foundation in production skills and prepare them for additional experiences or education.  For more and information, a list of specific courses, and links to the application visit www.msunorthfarm.org.