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- 2021 Michigan Virtual CSA Fair on Friday, February 26th
The Michigan Statewide CSA Network, a collaboration between Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), MSU Extension, and Taste the Local Difference, is excited to announce their upcoming Michigan virtual CSA Fair on February 26th. Those that would like to learn more about what a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share is, what their options are, and even find a CSA program in their area are invited to join this virtual open house. The Fair will feature two different drop-in Zoom sessions - a “lunch hour”, from 12-1pm, and a “happy hour” session from 5-6pm - for participants to explore local CSA programs. Participants can join regional breakout rooms to learn more about offerings in their area, or join a general information room to learn more about community supported agriculture broadly. Those interested in participating should register through MSU Extension: https://events.anr.msu.edu/event.cfm?eventID=CF883E5B1EA654E1058FB0CFB4BDFBA7E730104902D5BC1BF230F7BBDF0029FA Kelly Wilson, the Director of Community Partners with Taste the Local Difference, says that “CSA programs are a unique opportunity for consumers to get to know a local farm while receiving a consistent supply of farm fresh produce throughout the growing season. Since shares are typically purchased in spring, they also help farmers with critical early season funds to purchase valuable inputs for the main growing season.” Kelly also adds that, “they are fun opportunities to try new-to-you foods and, while all CSAs are unique, many provide recipes and preparation tips to help you use your share.” Taste the Local Difference supports farms and CSA programs throughout Michigan. Their online directory of farms allows users to search for a CSA program by county, growing practices, farm certifications, and more. Additionally, their blog includes articles on seasonal recipes and how to make the most of a farm share. About Taste the Local Difference: Taste the Local Difference is Michigan’s local food marketing agency and media company. Since 2004, our mission has been to educate consumers about the value of local food, and support food and farming entrepreneurs in building successful, well-connected, and thoughtful businesses. Our passionate staff members provide curated marketing services to local food businesses throughout the state. Learn more at localdifference.org
- Staff Highlight: Jen Silveri
Jen Silveri is our Director of Field Operations at MIFFS and we would like to recognize all of her hard work to ensure our organization's mission. Read on to learn more about Jen and her constant work with MIFFS! "I have worked for MIFFS for 5 years as a Co-Director. Before working for MIFFS, I was actively engaged as a board member for an additional 5 years." "I am inspired by all of the amazing people I work alongside at MIFFS and all of the amazing and weird things I learn from them. I learn something new every day at work and get really excited to continue to learn more about our connections to the ecosystem. I love being able to exchange that knowledge, and get excited about it with people and cultures." "I believe climate change and land access are the biggest challenge facing agriculture today. I believe it is absolutely vital to work with the land, knowing its strengths and challenges and letting those guide what and how we farm. We need to think about how to leverage, incorporate and support the regeneration of naturally resilient features of the land that can support and enhance farming. We need to adjust our farming practices to be more in sync with natural systems rather than fighting against them. I strongly believe that one of the ways we do this is by looking to practices of other land stewards from different cultures and diverse climates, many of whom have lost access to the land or whom have had it stolen. Those voices usually have the most valuable things to teach us. We need to find better ways to support equitable access to land, seek opportunities to learn from each other and problem solve together." "If lawns were looked at as an agricultural crop, it would be the largest irrigated crop in the US. They are by large, managed by untrained homeowners who unlike farmers, are unregulated and often have no training/experience in nutrient or pest management." MIFFS would like to once again thank Jen for all of her dedication to help this organization run smoothly and thrive!
- Insurance for Beekeepers
On October 7, 2020, MIFFS Veterans in Agriculture Network Coordinator, Nick Kaminski and GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Philip Preston discussed what crop insurance options exist for beekeepers and the benefits of insuring apiaries. Philip is a beekeeper and an Insurance Specialist for Greenstone Farm Credit Services in west Michigan. Philip discussed eligibility requirements for beekeepers to access crop insurance policies including: Apiculture RI (API), Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm Raised Fish (ELAP), and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP-2). A recording of the webinar can be viewed here. Check out the resources below to learn more! Other resources are available below: Greenstone Farm Credit Services Crop Insurance Guide USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Apiculture Website USDA RMA Apiculture Insurance Fact Sheet USDA Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) USDA Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) USDA Whole Farm Revenue Protection Fact Sheet
- Resources | Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS)
At MIFFS, we leverage strategic, highly collaborative partnerships to create and enable networks of small-scale urban and rural farms that give rise to a resilient local food system. Our work supports entrepreneurial farm business development by serving as the bridge between the resources of USDA service providers, knowledge of subject matter experts, and wisdom from diverse communities throughout Michigan. As MIFFS grows to fit the diverse needs of our communities, we also provide assistance in the form of various services. Through our reflections on our strategic plan, conversations with our members and observations in the fields, we are building our services to best support the beginning and historically underserved population of farmers in Michigan. The map below is changing rapidly and is updated frequently; click on the area of interest to be linked to the page. If there are questions about how to access a resource or if you are facing challenges with access, contact email@example.com or 517-709-8271 and we will assist in making the connection. Resources & Connections Recursos en Español Michigan Family Farms Conference Presentations Grants & Funding Opportunities MI Farm Link USDA Programming Workshops, Webinars, & Conferences Michigan Food & Farming Systems Publications Farm Service Agency Jobs & Other Opportunities Food Safety Michigan Food & Farming Systems Newsletters
- Board of Directors | Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS)
Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) is seeking individuals to join our Board of Directors who can provide essential leadership to the small, statewide organization. Please submit your application by February 25 online here . MIFFS Board of Director Expectations The mission of Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) is to connect beginning and historically underserved farmers to each other and to resource opportunities; ensuring social justice, environmental stewardship, and profitability. As the highest leadership body of MIFFS and to satisfy its fiduciary duties, the board is responsible for: Determining the mission and purposes of the organization Selecting and evaluating the performance of the chief executives Strategic and organizational planning Ensuring strong fiduciary oversight and financial management Fundraising and resource development Enhancing the organization’s public image Assessing its own performance as the governing body of the organization Each individual board member is expected to: Know the organization’s mission, policies, programs, and needs Faithfully read and understand the organization’s financial statements Serve as active advocates and ambassadors for the organization and fully engage in identifying and securing the financial resources and partnerships necessary for the organization to advance its mission, and notify MIFFS staff of any related activity Leverage connections, networks, and resources to develop collective action to fully achieve the organization’s mission Make a significant contribution to MIFFS that is reflective of your own values and means Help identify personal connections that can benefit the organization’s fundraising and reputational standing, and can influence public policy Prepare for, attend, and conscientiously participate in board meetings Participate fully in one or more committees Commit to 5-10 hours per month, including board meetings and committee work, and submit a yearly report In addition, board members are expected to follow MIFFS’ bylaws, policies, and board resolutions, sign an annual conflict-of-interest disclosure and update it during the year if necessary, as well as disclose potential conflicts before meetings and actual conflicts during meetings, and maintain confidentiality about all internal matters of MIFFS.