FFN Business Meeting – Network Northwest November 19, 2014

Food & Farming Network Business Meeting

Wednesday Nov 19, 2014

Hosted by Networks Northwest in Traverse City, MI

Welcome and Introductions – Start at 10:00 AM

  1. Rob Sirrine – MSU Extension
  2. Ann and Rod Robinson – Eaton B. Goode
  3. Kris Thomas – Benzie County Rotary
  4. Charlie Wunsch – Edible Grand Traverse
  5. Sarah Eichberger – MSU Extension
  6. Jessica Rasch – Conservation District
  7. Laura Spencer – Conservation District
  8. Don Coe – Black Star Farms
  9. Tricia Phelps – TLD
  10. Heather Ratliff – Cherry Capital Foods
  11. Kaley Butts – TBA-ISD Manufacturing Technology Academy (MTA) Student
  12. Diane Conners – MLUI
  13. Ben Mahlich – Greenstone
  14. Christina – FarmRaiser
  15. Travis Bratschi – Greenstone
  16. Zane Schaiger – Leelanau Conservancy
  17. Bill Palladino – MLUI
  18. Steve Nance – Oryana
  19. Brian Bourdages – GT Conservancy
  20. Wendy Wieland – MSU Extension

Grant Updates

  1. North Central IPM Grant (Rob) – Great Lakes Hopworks will be applying for Grant
  2. Food Farms and Health Event (Diane) – Debrief Meeting this afternoon, potential to sync up with Small Farms Conference for larger event, this may lead to shared opportunities
  3. LFPP (Bill) – Farm to Freezer – big grant to get much larger space, larger freezer, etc
  4. LFPP (Bill) – MLUI – Received
  5. MI Dept Community Health (Sarah) – focused on communities with disproportionate quantities of chronic disease using policy change and potentially healthy food focus to work on chronic disease. Sarah will be applying in conjunction with the District 10 Health Dept.

Team Reports

  1. 20 by 2020, Measurement, Summit
  2. Measurement News
  3. MLUI has committed to pay for full time vista position for the food and farming network. The design of that position is to specifically help measurement for each of the task force groups for the network.
  4. Online meeting this week with consultants for MSU regarding the shared measurements project for the Good Food Charter. Initial step in the collective impact model is for the Nebraska consultants to interview groups throughout the state. They will be doing great work, but we may not
  5. Summit
  6. Lexicon of Sustainability
  7. March 20th Event
  8. Premiering FFN Annual Report (see below)
  9. State of the Region Ag. Report

Summit and Report Planning

  1. Summit will launch the report which will illustrate what is happening in our regional food and farming community.
  2. Asking people to write their own short story about what they are doing to support the network goals
  3. After this meeting, we will be sending out a survey to request from each of you, what is happening in our community.
  4. Similar to the rapid fire updates at the summit last year, we will put together a written book of all of these stories
  5. Annual report at MDARD’s request
  6. Qualitative and Quantitative story of our region
  7. Tool for grant writing, useful to show what is actually going on in our network
  8. Biggest challenge will be to keep it short, and provide a visual
  9. Diane “Great”
  10. Deadline – End of the Year
  11. Assignment
  12. Write 300-500 Words
  13. Photo
  14. Graph
  15. Everyone should participate. If you are a part of this network in any way, we want to hear your story.
  16. Think Beyond Grand Traverse County


  1. Institutional Goal
  2. Health and Youth Networking Group
  3. Support of Farm To School
  4. Cooking With Kids at the Fair
  5. Double Up Food Bucks
  6. Foods Farms and Health Conference
  7. Task Force Structure TBD


10 Cents a Meal Metrics well underway, MSU Regional Foods Systems Graduate Student Assistant working with the receipts, to create a measurement system for local Farm to School

  1. Working with Munson to create tools for Farm to Institution Measurements
  2. Suggestion to help incentivize local purchasing, ie. grant to Munson that would incentivize tracking process,


  1. Agribusiness Generation
  2. Food Innovation Hub Update
  3. Parking lot and sidewalks complete,
  4. Some suites are whiteboxed
  5. 10 tenants have committed, 3 more are interested if there is space. Some are new businesses, some are existing businesses expanding
  6. FoodShed Alliance is having a visioning meeting on 12/3. Looking to increase board, and determine next steps. Invitations will follow visioning meeting
  7. MSU Product Center Feasibility Study for Malting Barley Center
  8. Statewide Interest in building a facility, and rotating in a new variety of hop growing

iii.              Byproduct use companies popping up in the region

  1. Grand Traverse Culinary Oil and Flour
  2. Creating flour from grape skins.
  3. PressMeister Oils
  4. Using Grape Seeds to create oil
  5. Maple Syrup!!!
  6. Turns out that Vermont Maple Syrup can be tapped in Michigan and bottled in Vermont
  7. MSU is working with an organization to grow that industry
  8. Sap to Syrup uses a lot of energy, Sap is going to be the next Coconut Water
  9. Saskatoon
  10. Growing group is looking for strategic growth


  1. Food Equity / Food Security
  2. Difference between equity, access, and security
  3. Equity is a concept that crosses all of the goals. How can equity be woven into each of the network objectives.

iii.              The goal is focused on Access.

  1. Using the discussion topic as a template, Sarah connected with:
  2. Val Stone
  3. Mary Stanton – Blessings in a Backpack
  4. Scott Smith – Local Food Alliance
  5. Results of discussions
  6. Groups that are working to feed those in need might be interested in procuring local products, but at the moment there is no system in place for that
  7. Donations come in directly, and through sources like Food Rescue, etc.
  8. Pantries prefer to procure locally over Sam’s Club or Walmart, but budget constraints have them cornered. No assistance is provided to pantries to source locally
  9. Suggestion: Empty Bowls has funding available
  10. Clarification: Pantries are not tracking or measuring food given
  11. There is a national movement to support pantries in sourcing healthier foods
  12. Kris. Different pantries have different regulations on # of visits allowed, etc. Pantries say they have some local produce available at some point throughout the year, but the quantity is very limited

vii.             Don: Issue with providing access, and battling the big commodity groups. If money is going to be made available, congress will have to be directed to prioritize local over the the big commodity groups. Perhaps we need to play a larger role in that conversation. (Bill: Oren Hesterman has been at the center of that conversation)

viii.            Diane: Focus on building existing resources like Double Up Food Bucks

  1. Bill: Access at Farmers Markets is a different conversation in GT County where there are 14 farmers markets offering Double Up Food Bucks vs. Kalkaska County with the highest poverty rates and 0 farmers markets
  2. Question: who in the region is leading the conversation in increasing retailers that accept SNAP, etc.
  3. Tricia: Hoophouses for Health program. Farmers will be given a loan for the hoophouse. They will be paid back for that loan by giving produce to Head Start.

xii.             Christina: FarmRaiser offers a donation to the community basket. The buyer can choose to purchase food that gets sent to the local food pantries

  1. Farmland and Resources Goal
  2. Brian, Rod, Jessica, Laura, and Amanda
  3. Availability, affordability, and the associated water and resources

iii.              Divided Group into categories, and determined what are the respective subcategories that make sense for us to measure (or are already being measured)

  1. Permanent and Temporary Protected Farmland
  2. Water Quality
  3. Quantity of MEAP Verifications
  4. Results of MEAP Verifications
  5. Results of Watershed Center Studies
  6. Energy
  7. Energy Network Connections required to track energy used by farms, and processors
  8. Affordability
  9. Rod will connect with TAAR for appraisal results
  10. Trends in financing, how does that speak to vitality/diversity/etc
  11. 2020 Fund and other new opportunities available
  12. Ancillary Projects
  13. Succession Workshop
  14. Residency Program
  15. Policy
  16. Zoning
  17. Farmland Protection Ordinances
  18. Use of Ag Census can track change over time


  1. Collective Impact Project
  2. We have started our own locally with North Sky Network
  3. MSU has started a statewide project


  1. Other Business
  2. Policy? Interaction with Farm Bureau?
  3. Invitation to join the Farm Bureau as auxiliary members
  4. Subcommittee to push suggestions to Farm Bureau

iii.              Policy Committee:

  1. Historically Brian, Diane, and team would meet up around specific legislation, as opposed to considering what would directly influence our goals
  2. Someone with capacity should be keeping up with the local and national policies, and comment periods.
  3. Reinstate the committee, Spearheaded by Brian, include Don, Diane, Sarah, Jim. Start the conversation. Connect with Local Food Alliance?
  4. Greenstone
  5. Here as a resource and looking forward to providing to this community.
  6. Around the Table
  7. Thanks for coming
  8. Strong and mighty group, funded by Petoskey Harbor Springs Development Foundation.

iii.              New Business connection with the Friendship Center came out of that meeting

  1. Josh Stoltz is the new ED of Grow Benzie. Warm welcome!
  2. MSU Extension Advisory Council is looking for an additional member for their regional county.
  3. TBAISD Career Tech Center – Manufacturing Tech Center. Laura is hosting a Sr. from Elk Rapids to provide job shadowing, support with career goals, etc.
  4. Zane Schwaiger: Tools for Farmland Access, presentation to the conservancy board to utilize tools from East Coast about aging farmers and the future of farming. Zane would like to bring that info back to our group following that meeting.
  5. Tom Nelson – New ED at Leelanau Conservancy
  6. Tricia Phelps – TLD Project Coordinator


  1. Next Meeting: Next Meeting at the Grand Traverse Conservation District (bring your skis and snowshoes) 12/17. Kris Thomas will be our guest speaker to report on the Benzie Cty Study. (Following up on the 12/3 launch at MI Works).


  1. Adjourn: At 11:45 AM





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