Kalkaska Food Summit: ‘The Importance of Local’

Story by Maddy Baroli

The Kalkaska Food Summit took place on Wednesday, March 15 at the Kalkaska Stonehouse— a hub for community events on the grounds of the Kalkaska Memorial Health Center. The Livewell Kalkaska coalition, a group of public health professionals, organized the event in collaboration with the Food and Farming Network.

Last spring, several substantial grants were awarded with funding through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. District Health Department #10 (DHD 10) received the funds and administered them to local organizations with ideas on how to enable healthy lifestyles in the community. The grant recipients’ work was notable, and Kalkaska’s first food summit was created to shine a spotlight on their efforts.


Continue reading

The Misty Acres Pasture Walk

Story by Maddy Baroli


The evening of the Misty Acres Pasture Walk was as gorgeous as autumn gets. As I pulled up to a rolling pasture dotted with stoic cattle and lined with glowing trees in all shades of yellow and red, I was impressed by the size of the crowd that had come to learn about this operation. The Misty Acres Farm is not your average cattle ranch; it is located just outside of Benzonia, Michigan on a nature preserve owned and managed by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy which operates it as an experiment in raising high-quality grass-fed beef.

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

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

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.

Kalkaska Soil Health Field Day – June 25

Soil Health Field Day at the Birgy Farm will demonstrate planting cover crops directly into standing corn, features an astonishing soil health demonstration. Astonishing… Really! And a short tour of a grass-fed beef grazing operation designed to imporve the soil and pasture. http://www.kalkaskaconservation.org/dev/?event=soil-health-field-day

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 9.52.49 AMA local foods lunch will be provided.

The event will take place at the Jim Birgy Farm.

Jim Birgy Farm
1723 Birgy Rd SW Fife Lake, MI

June Potluck at The Little Fleet

We’ve decided that too many meetings can spoil a good thing.  So next Wednesday, June 17th, the Food and Farming Network will host a potluck at The Little Fleet in downtown Traverse City.  Join us starting at 4PM.

The Little Fleet

We’ve reserved a few tables to gather.  Come ready to have a relaxing time, and leave your work behind!  It’s a partial potluck. Bringing something to pass is completely optional.  There will be food available from The Little Fleet’s fleet of food trucks.

Please help us celebrate a great year at the Network and bring in the summer.

Value Added Producer Grant Workshop at Grow Benzie June 5


Contact: Betsy Evans

Alliance for Economic Success


For Immediate Release



MANISTEE AND BENZIE COUNTIES, MICHIGAN – If you produce or are thinking about producing your own sauces, dressings, jams, jellies, cider or other specialty products, you should consider attending the Food Producer Workshop on Friday, June 5, 2015. The workshop will be held from 12:30pm – 2:30pm at Grow Benzie, located at 5885 Frankfort Hwy (M115) in Benzonia, Michigan.

Bobbie Morrison from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, will talk about the $30 million that is available to help agricultural producers create value-added food products from what they grow. One of the few grants in the nation directed at supporting private businesses, the grant offers dollar-for-dollar matching funds for planning or capital needs.

Wendy Wieland from the Michigan State University Product Center will share how the Product Center can assist food processors in developing and commercializing high value, consumer-responsive products. The Product Center unlocks the doors of the University’s vast technical, research, outreach and educational resources.

“This Food Producer Workshop is for people who are interested in or currently making food products from locally grown agricultural foods,” said Betsy Evans, Business Development Director for the Alliance for Economic Success.   “In addition to the presentations, we will dedicate all the time that is needed to talk about the specific interests and opportunities of those who attend.   These programs offer tremendous opportunities to develop and expand the horizon of our businesses involved with food production.” The Alliance for Economic Success is the organizer of the workshop working with Grow Benzie as a partner.

Questions about the workshop should be directed to Betsy Evans at 231-723-4325 or 1betsyevans@gmail.com. The Workshop is free and open to the general public.