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.

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

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

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 Study Session at Grow Benzie April 22, 2015

Food & Farming Network Meeting: Study Session                               April 22nd 2014

Grow Benzie – Frankfort, Michigan

Hosted by Josh Stoltz

In Attendance:

Via Video Conference: Wendy Wieland, Larry Dyer, Jen Schaap, Sarah Eichberger

In-Person: Bill Palladino, Zane Swaiger, Jim Barnes, Josh Stoltz, Sandy McArthur, Tracy Chipley, Sharron May, Mark Coe, Brian Bourdages, Heather Ratliff, Tricia Phelps, Paul May Continue reading

FFN Study Session Access to Affordable Land February 18, 2015

Network Study Session Notes

February 18, 2015   10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Room

Present: Online: Rick Gleason, Larry Dyer, Heather ??, Sharron May, Wendy Wieland, Bill Palladino, Rob Sirrine, Dan Ariesa, Tricia Phelps, Diane Conners, Mark Coe, Brian Bourdages, Tom Emling, Diana Mall, Scott Smith, Jessica Rasch, Laura Spencer, Zane Schwaiger Continue reading

FFN Study Session – Michigan Farm Bureau – Leelanau Hort Station October 15, 2014

Network Council Study Session Notes

October 15, 2014   10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Leelanau County Horticultural Research Station

Farm Bureau Informational Session

  1. Introductions
  • Bill Palladino – MLUI/TLD
  • Sarah Eichberger – MSU
  • Rod Robinson – Eaton B Goode
  • Ann Robinson – Eaton B Goode
  • Kris Thomas – Benzie Rotary
  • Tom Emling – MSU
  • Jim Dixon – Saskatoon Institute
  • Helen Leithauser – NCMC
  • Wendy Wieland – MSUe
  • Jessica Rasch – GTCD
  • Laura Spencer – GTCD


  • Mark Coe – Goodwill Farm to Freezer
  • Scott Smith – Local Food Alliance
  • Brian Matchett MSU/NMC
  • Levi Muellenberg – Farmer
  • Paul Wagner – Farm Bureau Grawn  Wagner Farms (beef cash row crops)
  • Diane Conners – MLUI
  • Zane Schwaiger – Leelanau Conservancy
  • Brian Bourdages – GTRLC
  • Heather Ratliff – Cherry Capital Foods
  • Nicco Pandolfi – Cherry Capital Foods


Continue reading