William Koucky: 2016 Chapman Award Winner

bill koucky photoFriday was a big day for Bill Koucky. In the morning, he was one of five success-story speakers at the February 26, 2016 Farm Route to Prosperity Summit. In the afternoon, Bill was surprised to receive the NW MI Food and Farming Network Chapman Award, “Given each year to the person that shows unerring dedication, enduring fortitude, and embodies the exceptional pioneering spirit that is remaking American agriculture right here in Northwest Michigan.”

Here’s Bill’s story told in his own words earlier in the day:

“Good morning, my name is William Koucky and I am the owner of Grand Traverse Culinary Oils (GTCO) and Flours. About ten years ago I started growing canola for fuel production. I sold an old collector car that I had just restored and bought a tractor and combine. My kids were thrilled with the trade! I planted 20 acres and struggled to produce several tons of canola. I didn’t have a truck so I augered the canola from the combine through the sunroof of my VW station wagon. Continue reading

FFN Business Meeting Minutes – Nov 18, 2015

Nov 18, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance, 1610 Barlow, Traverse City

Meeting Minutes IconINTRODUCTIONS: Brian Bourdages, Mark Coe, Stephanie Cumper, Carol Danly, Sarah Eichberger, Sharron May, Steve Nance, Bill Palladino, Tricia Phelps, Heather Ratliff, Amber Ressl, Scott Smith, Mikaela Taylor, Kris Thomas, Wendy Weiland

SURVEY RESULTS:  Total responses to the member survey was 228 with the majority (more than 100) from consumers, 29 from farmers, and the remainder from others in the food system. Overall, members find the 20% by 2020 goals to be Continue reading

The Lakes to Land Farm & Food System Assessment wins Planning Excellence Award


Lakes to Land Assessment-Report-cover-791x1024If you’re reading this blog, you probably already have an understanding of some of the
interconnections, barriers, and opportunities faced by local food producers. MSU grad
student Cassi Meitl didn’t understand any of these things when she was tasked with assessing the farm and food system in Benzie and Manistee counties during her 2014 summer internship with planning consultants Beckett & Raeder. But upon completion of the Lakes to Land Farm and Food System Assessment, Continue reading

FREE FALL CONFERENCE – Around the Table: Local Food & Community Health

Wednesday, October 28, 4:00-8:00 PM

Sponsored by:  Local Food Alliance
North Central Michigan College, Petoskey – Iron Horse Café

Join health care providers, educators, dietitians, farmers, Around the Table logo jpgfood processors, employers, and local food lovers to create a healthy foods action plan for the community. Learn about great programs in the area that bring local fresh foods into schools, hospitals, and workplace. Meet the people who make it happen and how you can take steps to create a healthier community!

FREE Event – Advance Registration with North Central Michigan College  required.  To register, call 231-348-6613.

A conversation with the co-leaders…member survey

Heather Ratliff and Bill Palladino are co-leaders of the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network.  Here they discuss the 2015 member survey.

from answers to actions 75 percentBill:  The Food and Farming Network welcomes everyone interested in preserving and supporting agriculture as a viable economic practice in an almost 5,000-square-mile area–from Emmet County in the north to Manistee, Wexford, and Missuakee counties in the south. Within this region, we aim to provide 20% local food by the year 2020 with 100% access for all residents.

Heather:  Because there are no fees or dues, some members may not even recall joining our organization! We’re happy to have them all on board.

Bill:  Every few years, we like to gauge how well we are meeting member needs. This year it is especially important to get member feedback because Rotary Charities and the NorthSky Nonprofit Network are helping us examine the effectiveness of the Food and Farming Network.

Survey results will tell us what we have done well and where we have room for improvement or growth.

Heather:  At the 2016 Summit in February, members will use survey results to help determine the future direction of the Food and Farming Network. It’s really important to understand what the network means to each and every member and how everyone pictures our network in the future.

Bill:  The survey is short–just 14 questions.

Heather:  To say thanks, members who complete the survey will be given the opportunity to enter a drawing for a $100 gift card to a local business of their choosing. I hope everyone reads this and takes the survey right now.

NOTE: The survey closes on Tuesday, October 14, 2015, at midnight.

FFN Business Meeting Minutes – Sept 16, 2015

Sept 16, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance, 1610 Barlow, Traverse City

Meeting Minutes IconINTRODUCTIONS: Amanda Kik, Amy MacKay, Amy Martin, Annie Olds, Bill Koucky, Bill Palladino, Brian Bourdages, Carol Danly, Heather Ratliff, Mark Coe, Meghan McDermitt, Rod Robinson, Sandi McArthur, Sarah Eichberger, Scott Smith, Sharron May, Stephanie Cumper, Tricia Phelps, Wendy Weiland, Zane Schwaiger

ROLE OF VISTA: See blog post of 7/27/15. VISTA provides support to organizations for the purpose of increasing capacity. The focus with FFN is measurement of progress against goals and outreach/relationship building. Carol has increased the activity of FFN on social media and has attended three of ISLAND’s Twilight Tours plus a Local Food Alliance meeting in Petoskey. Continue reading

FFN: Six Years and Counting

by Diane Conners, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities

The Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network was born out of a 2009 Farm Route farmroutebannerto Prosperity Summit organized by economic development and business groups, farmers and farm groups, nonprofit local food policy advocates, land conservancies, job training organizations, health professionals, community garden supporters, school Continue reading