2018 BFI at ALBA_Photo credit Hannah Packman

A Farmer’s Diary: Beginning Farmer Institute, Part 2

Eat Local, Environment, Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, Stories

Our second session with the 2018-19 National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) took us into the country’s heart of organic produce, the salad bowl of America, the sunny Salinas Valley, California. Again, we were the last to arrive late at night, and a bit jet-lagged. For the first day of training, we participated in a hands-on learning session, hosted in partnership with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), an organization dedicated to creating economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education. ALBA creates farming opportunities while providing education and demonstration of organic farming, conservation, and habitat restoration. About 35 farmers operate their small organic farm at ALBA on an annual basis.

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Opportunity to Hone your Farming Skills

Environment, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson, Learn More

Attention beginning farmers, farm employees and those contemplating a future in sustainable farming! The application period for the 2019 Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP) at Michigan State University is now open.

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Willow Farm: Born to Farm

Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Proteins, Southeast Michigan, Tom and Candy Brisendine

Kyle took to farming early, when she was 4 she kept asking for sheep. We had cows, horses, chickens, cats, dogs and the occasional pig, though, I knew nothing about caring for sheep, so I said no. Repeatedly.

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Rockstar with a Farmers Tan

Alex Palzewicz, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Get Involved

I can not believe the month of May has come and gone. I have a sinking suspicion that this long Upper Peninsula winter caused us all to feel the anxiety that is lost time. I moved out to the farm (Rock River Farm) in Chatham on May 9th and the anxiousness of a late spring caused me to jump into work right away. The greenhouse was full, the kitchen in disarray, and snow was still standing in some places – but somehow, collectively working towards the challenge that was catching up (a quest to regain our lost time), we were able to cross task after task off the list. May 26th marked our first day of the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market as well as our own farm’s first catering of the season. Now that the dust has settled from our crazy weekend, I think we all are able to see how much we have accomplished these past few weeks – and we are stoked. We’ll never get that lost time back, but we catch up, we relax, reflect, and we get inspired to do more.

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Lady Jane Seed Co.: Understanding the Hemp Plant

Environment, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Health, Kelly Wilson, Laura Noble, Specialty Producers

Hemp is a plant we’re hearing more about these days. However, there is a lot of confusion around this delicious and versatile plant. Many people wonder if hemp and marijuana are the same plant or are concerned they may fail a drug test or get high from eating hemp. An internet search can lead to even more confusion! This article sheds light on hemp history and clarifies a few of the common misconceptions regarding this important plant.

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Hillside Homestead: Putting the Environment First

Conner Drexler, Environment, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Lizzy Freed

Susan Odom of Hillside Homestead has many concerns while managing her authentic farmstay in the rolling cherry hills of Leelanau county. First, that her guests receive the best experience of a century ago: antique furniture, a huge cast-iron stove fed firewood to push away the morning cold, and gourmet food served like the the home cooking you imagine your great-grandmother gave to the hungry mouths of your family a few generations ago.

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It’s CSA sign-up season!

Economy, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson, Southeast Michigan, Spring

The return of the longer days, bouts of sunshine, and the pop of crocus and snowdrops have signaled that spring is here. If you’re like me, you’re dreaming of your garden and the tastes of fresh, local produce. To ensure that you have consistent access to these flavors, and the upcoming seasonal bounty, consider signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

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Ann Arbor Seed Co.: Your Local Seed Farm

Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Specialty Producers

Ann Arbor Seed Company is a small farm, growing quality vegetable and flower seeds since 2012. We operate less than an acre, just outside of the city. You would be amazed at how much seed production we can squeeze out of our small piece of land. The small scale keeps us close to the crops so we can give them the attention they deserve.

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Looking Ahead to the Growing Season

Alex Palzewicz, Find Local Food, Retail

Michigan winters, particularly those here in the UP region, don’t allow for much production. Even those individuals who have been able to bridge the gap with season extension find themselves unable to do much in the blistering months of January and February. So, what are our local farmers up to at times like these? Catching up on the Netflix binging they missed? Creating sleep patterns that almost replicate those of hibernation? Read books by the fire, hot chocolate in hand?