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North Central’s Farm Workshops are presented in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art and Natural Design (ISLAND) and the USDA Risk Management Agency.  To encourage the growth of successful, sustainable agricultural practices in our region, ISLAND and NCMC offer workshops to farmers at a 50% discount. An Equal Opportunity Program/Service Provider.

Sustainable Farming-Putting Plans into Action

The Grain Train will sponsor a number of scholarships for farmers who wish to enroll in Sustainable Farming workshops.  If you are interested in the Grain Train scholarships, please reply quickly and complete the questions on the registration form.

Going Organic – From Plan to Certification

Organic Certification – An Overview of the Organic Systems Plan
Tuesday, April 29, 6:00 – 8:00 PM    

Organic farming is an ecologically balanced, integrated way of farming that can help farmers improve their practices and increase markets.  Learn how the USDA National Organic Program works and how to orient your resources for developing your farm systems plan.  Instructor Larry Dyer, PhD

Organic Certification - Create Your Organic Systems Plan

Tuesday, May 6, 6:00 – 8:00 PM       
Take the first steps in developing your organic farm systems plan.  Bring maps, field histories, and farm records to begin developing your own organic systems plan.

Organic Certification - Create Your Organic Systems Plan

Tuesday, April 29, 6:00 – 8:00 PM      $20 includes materials (Farmers may request 50% discount.)
Organic farming is an ecologically balanced, integrated way of farming.  It also has a legal definition under the USDA National Organic Program. Central to certification is the organic systems plan and inspection.  In addition to enabling you to label your farm products as organic, many farmers find that creating an organic systems plan also helps them be better farmers.  In this interactive workshop instructor Larry Dyer will explain how the USDA National Organic Program works, and help you get started on your organic systems plan.

Spring Tonics

Wednesday, May 21, 6:00 – 8:00 PM  $20 includes materials
The herbs that help cleanse and energize are reading for gathering.  Learn from herbalist Gretchen Van Loozen which herbs are beneficial, how to identify them, harvest and enjoy them throughout the year.  In this hands-on workshop, you’ll get to touch, taste and know many herbal allies.

Michigan’s Cottage Foods Law

Wednesday, May 28, 6:00-9:00 PM                                         
Room 536 Student Community Resource Center
$20 includes all materials      

Michigan's Cottage Food Law allows food entrepreneurs to sell certain homemade foods prepared in home kitchens. But what products qualify as “cottage foods” and what regulations apply?  In this workshop, learn how to satisfy the legal requirements and plan a profitable Cottage Food Business.  You’ll discuss how to safely prepare food in your kitchen; how to transport food and sample foods at the farmers’ market; how to label your cottage foods as required; and how to plan your business for success.  Join MSU Extension experts Wendy Wieland and Michelle Jarvie to learn the details about safely making, preparing and selling your cottage foods. 

How to Market at the Farmers’ Markets

Tuesday, June 3, 6:00-8:00 PM                                   
Room 536 Student Community Resource Center
$20 includes all materials     

You’ve got great fresh local food products, but how do you find customers?  MSU Extension Product Innovation Specialist Wendy Wieland will share best practices for displaying, promoting and selling your products at the Farmers’ Markets.

Farmers Expo

June 24, 4 – 8 PM
Watch for an afternoon of demonstrations and workshops on farming practices.  Check out new equipment.  Review products and practices for soil enhancement, preventing disease and insect damage, and share ideas with other farmers.

Workshops for farmers are funded in part through a USDA Risk Management Agency grant. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Click here for registration form.