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

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,, 231-929-5034

Betsy Evans, Alliance for Economic Success Business Development Director,

sharron mahSharron May, Lakes to Land Regional Initiative, 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

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

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

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

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