A group finishes putting the outer skin on a hoop house in Michigan. The hoop house has helped local farmers lengthen the short Michigan growing season by two full months, giving them additional crops to sell at winter markets. Photo courtesy Brittain Family Farms.
This is one of my favorite times of the year. New and old traditions bring friends and family together to celebrate, cheer for their favorite football teams or just to share a hearty meal and some spirited conversations. As the weather gets cooler, my family gravitates toward comfort foods and traditional family favorites, picking up fresh ingredients from our local winter farmers market. And, based on the growth in winter market listings this year, we’re not the only ones who have made this a part of our fall and winter traditions. Read more »
Farmer Doug Goyings examines the drought-damaged corn on his farm in Paulding County, OH on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. USDA photo by Christina Reed.
The 2012 drought dried up more than just crops. For many U.S. farmers, it also dried up savings, material resources, and perhaps saddest of all, hope.
“The drought of course impacted our crop yields tremendously,” said veteran Ohio dairy farmer Leon Weaver. “Corn yields were about 50 percent of normal. Dairymen are exiting this business in droves.”
But for Weaver and nearly one hundred other Ohio, Michigan and Indiana farmers who gathered recently in rural Henry County, Ohio, hope was a commodity worth trading as they shared, in roundtable fashion, their ideas on how to access resources and rise from the dust. Read more »
USDA Rural Development Michigan State Director James Turner joined Senator Debbie Stabenow and local officials this summer in celebrating the opening of the largest commercial-scale anaerobic digester in the United States.
The Fremont Community Digester is an ambitious new use of a proven technology. Once used chiefly in farms, anaerobic digesters are now coming into their own.
The facility will convert organic waste products – such as farm and food waste – and process it into biogas. Approximately 1,500 local families will derive their power from this previously untapped energy source. Read more »
It’s shaping up to be a good year for students in Indian Country.
For the first time in school history, students at Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College in Mount Pleasant, Michigan can register to take physics thanks to an upgraded laboratory. And at Leech Lake Tribal College in Cass Lake, Minnesota, students were able to take trigonometry for the first time last year. Funded and supported by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA ), both schools made improvements to bolster their students’ learning in the areas of science and mathematics.
NIFA’s Tribal Colleges Education Equity Grant is a noncompetitive program that enhances educational opportunities for American Indians in the food and agricultural sciences. These grants strengthen formal educational opportunities at the associate, baccalaureate, or graduate level at 1994 land-grant institutions, also known as tribal colleges. Read more »
A design concept for the outside of Michigan’s indoor/outdoor market arena. After developing a design concept, Fidel Delgado, AMS Architect, provides cost estimates and a feasibility assessment.
Farmers markets are evolving. They are moving away from seasonal, parking lot produce stands and becoming year-round, self-sustaining, community hubs. As more and more cities and communities look for ways to strengthen their local economies, we’ve seen more emphasis placed on both the infrastructure and the actual structure of their farmers markets. That’s where I come in. Read more »
Lori Cook, aka TV-personality “Maranda,” interviewed me about the importance of the Summer Food Service Program.
Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation, and the State of Michigan is making sure that nutrition assistance programs don’t either. I recently traveled to the west side of the state to see some of the inspiring work our partners are doing to make sure that no one in their community has to face hunger. Read more »