The Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance (MOFFA) was organized in 1992 as a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting organic agriculture and the development and support of food systems that revitalize and sustain local communities.  MOFFA was one of the first organizations in Michigan and the nation to actively promote these principles.

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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

Protecting Organic Seed IntegrityOSGATA 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.

 

 


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