2017 Chapman Award

For Immediate Release
Date: February 23rd, 2017
Contact: Bill Palladino bill@localdifference.org (877)562-2539 

2017 Chapman Award Presented to Shetler Family Dairy

Traverse City, MI: George and Sally Shetler, dairy farmers from Kalkaska, Michigan, were presented with the prestigious Chapman Award on Friday, February 17th.  The award, presented as part of the Food and Farming Network’s annual Farm Route to Prosperity Summit, is given each year to an individual or group that contributes to the advancement of agriculture in Northwest Michigan.

The Chapman Award is named after John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. The dedication reads, “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.”

Nominations for the Chapman Award are taken throughout the year. The leadership team of the Food and Farming Network selects the winner in time for their annual summit in February. The event features updates from a multitude of people working to enhance the vitality of local food and farming across the 10-county region. Every year since 2013, The Chapman Award has been presented at the conclusion of the summit.

At this year’s event, Bill Palladino co-chair of the Network, introduced the Shetlers as “…representing the clearest example of a new entrepreneurial agriculture necessary for the ongoing sustainability of the region’s food system. The Shetler’s leadership in farming, business, family and community has influenced thousands. There is no one more worthy of this award than George and Sally.”

The Shetler Family has been dairy farming in Kalkaska, Michigan since 1979, and has three generations living and working on their land. They practice a very hands-on managed grazing system and bottle and distribute their own milk to local stores in returnable glass bottles, along with butter and ice cream. The Shetler’s delicious and high-quality products reflect their passion for farming and their unique approach to business. In accepting the Chapman Award, George Shetler said, “Thank you for this honor, and we are also thankful for all the support of our loyal customers that believe in what we do.”

The Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network is a volunteer organization, based in Traverse City that works year-round to advance the food system in Northwest Michigan. For information about the Chapman Award, the Shetler Family Dairy, or the Network, visit the website,www.foodandfarmingnetwork.org.

The goal of the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network is to build Northwest Michigan’s agricultural future by identifying areas of need throughout the region’s food system and coordinating action to address them.
Our strength is in facilitating synergies and communicating among the many people and organizations already at work changing our regional food system.

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Reaping What Farmers Have Sown

“Before the reward, there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.” – Ralph Ransom

The abundance of northern Michigan’s many riches is never more apparent than now. The approaching fall demands that farmers set our tables with the literal fruits of their summer’s labor. Visit one of our local farmers markets and be ready for an impressive diversity of locally grown crops. Take a ride down any one of our scenic rural roads and pass by dozens of farms and roadside vegetable stands. Some, like Gallagher’s Farm Market on M72 or Friske’s on US 31, are full-fledged stores with professional staff. I dare you to leave either of these places without a full pie in hand and a smile on your face.

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Extreme Weather and Farming

The Food and Farming Network held one of its bi-monthly study sessions on Wednesday December 16th, 2015. It took place at Cherry Capital Foods‘ in their large conference room. A video of the entire proceedings is available below.

FFN Co-chair Bill Palladino penned a summary of the study session for the Traverse City Record-Eagle which appeared in their Agriculture Forum on December 26th, 2015.  The text of that article and a link to the Record-Eagle is included below this video.

Here are timings for sections of the panel discussion. You may view this on YouTube to directly to access linked shortcuts to these sections.

00:00 – Welcome and Introduction by Heather Ratliff
02:10 – Intro by moderator Wendy Wieland
08:00 – Dave Barrons presentation
24:00 – Jim Nugent presentation
31:30 – Josh Wunsch comments
41:30 – Pepper Bromelmeier soil erosion demonstration
48:00 – Paul May comments
52:00 – Panel and Audience Q&A
1:18:30 – Closing comments

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TLD Launches in Washtenaw County

Taste the Local Difference (TLD) is growing up and expanding to southeast lower Michigan.

TickerArticleThe 11-year-old local food marketing arm of the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities (formerly the Michigan Land Use Institute or MLUI) in Traverse City is partnering with Ann Arbor-based Think Local First to bring its local food marketing chops to that community downstate.  Read the full story from The Ticker’s Lynn Geiger on their website.