FFN awards grants to build northwest Michigan’s agricultural future

dollar-signThe Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network (FFN) yesterday announced eight mini seed grants to organizations in the local food system. FFN’s partners at the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities and the Northsky Nonprofit Network provided funds for this program via Networks Northwest, the Regional Prosperity Initiative, and Rotary Charities.

“I congratulate the grant recipients for their creative projects which help the network accomplish its goals,” said FFN co-leader Bill Palladino. “These investments Continue reading

FFN Business Meeting Minutes – May 18, 2016

Business MeetingNorthwest Michigan Food and Farming Network (FFN) Business Meeting
May 18, 2016, 10:30-noon

In Attendance: Amanda Kik of Crosshatch, Brian Bourdages of Tamarack Holdings, Carol Danly of the Food and Farming Network, Elise Crafts of Networks Northwest, Heather Ratliff of Cherry Capital Foods, Juliana Lisuk of SEEDS, Kelly Lively of Cherry Capital Foods, Margaret Sheets of Taste the Local Difference, Meghan McDermott of Groundwork, Mollie Thomas of Crosshatch, Rick Gleason of Farm Bureau, Rod Robinson of Eaton B Goode, Sarah Eichberger of MSU-E (remote), Scott Smith of Local Food Alliance (remote), Sharron May of The May Farm (remote), Stephanie Cumper of FoodCorps, Steve Nance of Oryana, Tasha Lapinski of Baker College-Cadillac & consultant, Tricia Phelps of Taste the Local Difference, Val Stone of Northwest Food Coalition/Goodwill/Salvation Army, Wendy Wieland of MSU-E

⦁ Consider printing FFN business cards and postcards with meeting/action team/website info for use by active members. (carried over)
URGENT: Reach out to Dr. Benishek to let him know Continue reading

4/20 Study Session: Economic Development

Lakes to Land Assessment-Report-cover-791x1024Here is Sharron May’s Lakes to Land Regional Initiative: Farm and Food System Assessment presentation.~~~Our guest panelists were:

Sarah_LucasSarah Lucas, Networks Northwest Regional Planning Department Manager, sarahlucas@networksnorthwest.org, 231-929-5034

Betsy Evans, Alliance for Economic Success Business Development Director, betsy@allianceforeconomicsuccess.com

sharron mahSharron May, Lakes to Land Regional Initiative, themayfarm@gmail.com~~~Other links:

This is a draft document. Networks Northwest has not published it yet. ~~~
Information on the MSU website about Stronger Economies Together (S.E.T.) 
It does not seem to match what Betsy Evans said about the May 9 meeting.~~~

A follow-up to Wednesday’s Economic Development meeting. Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control the next S.E.T. meeting needs to be moved to Monday, May 9th from 1:00pm-4:00pm. Continue reading

NEW! Mini Seed-Grants for Collaborative Projects

dollar-signWelcome to our first round of the Mini Seed-Grants administered by the Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network. Funds for this program have been provided by our partners at the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities via Networks Northwest and the Regional Prosperity Initiative.

These mini grants (maximum $2,000 from FFN and we will try to find someone to match for a total of $4,000) are designed Continue reading

FFN Business Meeting Minutes – Mar 16, 2016

Meeting Minutes IconNorthwest Michigan Food and Farming Network (FFN) Business Meeting
March 16, 2016, 10:30-noon

In Attendance: Amanda Kik, Bill Palladino, Brian Bourdages, Brian Matchett, Carol Danly, Hannah Fernando, Heather Ratliff, Kris Thomas, Mark Coe, Meghan McDermott, Mollie Thomas, Rick Gleason, Rod Robinson, Sarah Eichberger, Sharron May (remote), Steve Nance (remote),Tricia Phelps

⦁ Consider printing FFN business cards and postcards with meeting/action team/website info for use by active members.
⦁ Provide Sarah with contact information for farmers who have done farm to school successfully.
⦁ Suggest to Rick venues for 150 people that can showcase local food.

2015-16 MEETINGS:
1. April 20, 2016 (study session) – Topic will be economic development with an agricultural focus. There will be brief presentations of three reports on the state of northwest Michigan agriculture and a panel discussion follows. Panelists and presenters include representatives from Networks Northwest, Lakes to Land Initiative, SBDC, plus others (to be determined).
2. May 18, 2016 (business meeting)
3. June 15, 2016 – If you enjoyed the post-summit happy hour, you’ll love our end-of-the season celebration at the Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance, 1st floor of the Cherry Capital Foods building. It will be a grand opening, of sorts, for the Foodshed Alliance! Details will be forthcoming. Continue reading

The State of Agriculture in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties–2015

Local Food Alliance lfa Logo-colorThe State of Agriculture in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties–2015 Prepared by:  Local Food Alliance of Northern Michigan

Increased attention given by people in our community to the food they eat and where it is grown is reinvigorating our region’s agriculture, countering trends in data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture which show declines in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties over the past 30 years. Statewide, agriculture is one of the top three growth sectors. A Michigan State University study estimated that the annual economic impact of agriculture has grown from $60 billion in 2006 to over $100 billion in 2015. Michigan has the highest diversity of agricultural products of any state except California; 81% of these products are grown in the 10-county Northwest Michigan region. The potential impact that agriculture can play in our community in the future— including on jobs, economic growth, and health—is exciting.

charlevoix emmet direct sales scotts reportProducts sold by Emmet County farmers directly to individuals increased from 3% of total market value to 18% between 2002 and 2012, the highest in Northwest Michigan. Families can buy more local produce directly at a farm, through Community Supported Agriculture, at a Farmers Market, or through home delivery. Our community has active Farmers Markets in Continue reading

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