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Organic Intensives 2023

We invite you to join us on Saturday, January 7th, 2023 for a one-day in-depth learning experience. Organic Intensives are an opportunity to acquire practical, detailed information over the course of a day with fellow Michigan farmers and gardeners.

For 2023 we are offering the opportunity to learn from experienced experts and producers in one of three topic areas:

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

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

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

This session will bring together three presenters with decades of experience with native, non-native and exotic fruits and nuts.  Allyson Levy and Scott Serrano, co-authors of Cold-Hardy Fruits and Nuts: 50 Easy-to-Grow Plants for the Organic Home Garden or Landscape, garden all year long at Hortus Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.  The gardens have an extensive collection of unusual edible and decorative plantings. By trialing both native and exotic plants, their goal is to push the limits of what can be successfully grown in Zone 6, and help fellow gardeners expand their knowledge base and incorporate some of these garden-worthy plants at home.  For the Organic Intensives they will present on Resilient Native Fruiting Plants and Low Maintenance Fruiting Plants from around the World. Ken Asmus of Oikos Tree Crops will present his experience in non-cultivar based plant breeding. First he will share techniques and tips for propagation of woody perennials and continue with how to establish and maintain these plants in an open field/permaculture situation. The principles Ken has learned over several years of experience can also be applied in orchard plantings and conservation or ecology situations.  Photo Credit: Merry Clark

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

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


The event will take place on Saturday, January 7th, at the Plant and Soil Sciences building on the MSU campus in East Lansing. 

Thanks to our sponsors, we have been able to keep the cost low at $85 for MOFFA members and $115 for non-members.  The registration fee covers six hours of learning, lunch, breaks, all printed materials, and a great chance to network with fellow farmers and gardeners from across Michigan.  Parking is free at the Plant and Soil Sciences Building.  A limited number of scholarships are available; to apply please email your request for a scholarship to moffaorganic@gmail.com

A block of rooms has been reserved at the TownePlace Suites Marriott, 2855 Hannah Blvd., East Lansing, MI  48823, just one mile from the Plant and Soil Sciences building. Room availability was only guaranteed through December 6th, but the conference rate of $109 per night continues to be in effect; mention MOFFA when you call. We suggest you contact the hotel as soon as possible at 517-203-1000 to be sure you get a room if you will need one. 

Please help us publicize the event by downloading the brochure or the flyers (general, crop fertilityhardy fruits, or bee keeping) and distributing them in your community.  If you'd like us to send you pre-printed brochures or flyers, please let us know.

Organic Intensives would not be possible without the sponsorship of companies and foundations who support our work. If you are interested in sponsoring Organic Intensives and our other activities, please see the Sponsorship page. We encourage you to think of these companies when you're in the market for the products and services they provide, and thank them for their support of MOFFA.