Author Archives: Michelle Miller

Summer events in-person and on-line

Looking to learn about agriculture, food, and our food system? There are a number of events this summer if you want to get out in the field or join on-line.

July 3rd – The UN Committee on Food Security launched the HLPE Report on “Agroecological and other innovative approaches” in Rome. The recorded webcast of the 3 hour event is available here.
The full report in English will be available by mid-July, while the other language versions will be available in September. The link to the summary and recommendations document (in English) is available here: http://www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-hlpe/en/

July 30th, 2019 10am Establishing Pollinator Habitat on Organic Farms — Karin Jokela, Farm Bill Pollinator Conservation Planner, Minnesota, Xerxes Society and Caleb Langworthy Organic Specialist, Conservation Education, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service

The National Organic Program regulations require farmers to maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation including wildlife.  This presents an opportunity for conservation agents to work with producers to address the lack of pollinator habitat.  This webinar will address required practices on organic farms, NRCS practices/enhancements that meet those requirements. It will also address evaluation tools, initiatives, site preparation, success stories and resources to successfully work with organic farmers to establish pollinator habitat.

Registration link for summer webinars: Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone at 

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/213746573

August 7-8, 2019 Innovations in the Food System: Shaping the Future of Food – a workshop

On August 7 and 8, the National Academies of Sciences Food Forum will host a workshop that will explore current innovations in the food system. Workshop presenters will discuss the dimensions of food systems and how to utilize innovations to meet the needs of small and large supply chains to support decision-making. The workshop will include discussions on issues related to safety and sustainability, economic and social challenges and opportunities, innovative case examples, and strategies in reducing food waste. Register to attend in-person or via webcast. Register to attend in person or via webcast. For more information, visit the Academies’ website.

  • When: Wednesday, August 7 (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) and Thursday, August 8 (8:30 am – 12:00 pm)
  • Where: The National Academies of Sciences Building, Lecture Room (2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20418)
  • Watch: This event will be webcast live
  • Learn more and sign up here: bit.ly/foodsystemff

Thursday August 8, 2019, Establishing Pollinator Habitat on Organic Farms with Karin Jokela, Xerces Society; Kaitlyn O’Connor, Prairie Moon Nursery, Blue Fruit Farm Tour

Free Training for NRCS agents, county conservationists, technical service providers.

  • When: 10am to 3pm
  • Where: Wiscoy Community Center, 31783 Bur Oak Lane, Winona, MN and the farm tour at Blue Fruit Farm, 31762 Wiscoy Ridge Road, Winona, MN
  • To register or with questions: mosesorganic.org/nrcs, and questions to Caleb@mosesorganic.org

Thursday August 15, Wisconsin Farmers Union summer conference: American Agriculture, Where Are We Headed? A look at the future of our family farms, food systems, watersheds, and rural towns and why we must address anti-trust in agriculture. Bill Baer, former head of the federal Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division and past Director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Where: Wisconsin Farmers Union Kamp Kenwood, 19161 79th Avenue, Chippewa Falls, WI
  • When: 10 am to 2pm
  • Other details: There will be a pie contest for bakers and Acorn Day Camp for children 7+yrs for $15/child.
  • To register: RSVP to WFU at 715-723-5561 or www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/events

August 23rd, 2019 10 am, Working with Small Organic Farming Operations,KaYing Vang, Soil Conservationist NRCS and Valerie Dantoin, Instructor in Organic Agriculture, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Organic farming systems are diverse in both their production and scale. The 2017 Census of Agriculture shows 45.8% of organic farms in MN, WI and IA are under 100 acres.  A 2017 Oregon Tilth survey of farmers who participated in the EQIP Organic Initiative showed that 79% of respondents farmed less than 100 acres; 86.7% of those respondents said that concern for the environment was a motivation for them to farm organically. This webinar will provide NRCS field staff insight into working with producers on small farms to address natural resource concerns. 

Registration link for summer webinars: Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone at 

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/213746573

Equitable food

I had the good fortune to serve on a panel about food access at this year’s SXSW, in Austin this March. Entitled “Re-linking the Food Supply Chain: Connecting Producers and Consumers,” we heard from six people working in this space. Food access was also the topic of this month’s Talking Freight, hosted by the US Department of Transportation. An audience of about 175 state and regional transportation planners, logistics companies and others interested in improving food access to urban and rural communities participated in the session. If you have a chance to check out these sites, I would love to hear what you think.

Food, ag and climate seminar

Laura Lengnick will be at the UW-Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems from 10-noon on Friday April 26, 2019 to discuss climate resilience, midwest flooding, and give us an overview of what happened at the National Adaptation Forum at the Monona Terrace in Madison that week. Please join us!

Lengnick is a CIAS fellow, and author of the book Resilient Agriculture (2015). She recently authored a SARE publication on Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches. She is the principle of Cultivating Resilience. Current and past clients include: 

Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council, Asheville, NC
USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Washington DC
North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance
Forageable Community Project, Charlotte NC
Glynwood Farm, Coldspring NYClimate Listening Project, Asheville NC
Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics, Capital Institute, Greenwich CT
Agriculture, Forestry and Climate Learning Network, Athens GA
NC Adapt: The North Carolina Agriculture and Forestry Adaptation Work Group, Raleigh NC
Farm Beginnings Program, Organic Growers School, Asheville NCAlliance for Resilient Campuses, Second Nature, Boston MA

Webinar on food logistics

Food Deserts and the Logistics of Urban Food Transportation

Registration: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/fpd/talking_freight/index.htm

The federal Department of Transportation sponsors webinars on freight issues monthly. This month the topic is food logistics. Food transportation logistics often present more persistent challenges in communities, especially cities, than other types of freight transport, due to everyone’s need to eat regularly.  Freight carriers, particularly truck carriers, that specialize in food transportation need to make frequent deliveries to grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, and other businesses that sell food as a significant part of their business.  In many locations, particularly urban areas, large numbers of people may not have convenient access to grocery stores or other food sources, complicating the supply chain logistics for customers who are need to access to stores or restaurants that sell food.  Additionally, the growing online grocery delivery industry also faces various supply chain challenges, including how to source their foods to ensure they are fresh for their online customers and how to deliver foods to their customers in an efficient and cost effective manner.

This webinar will examine the supply chain logistics of food transportation in multiple ways, including how small farms can ship their food to small grocery stores in various areas, especially urban areas, how e-commerce companies specializing in meal delivery can create efficient supply chains while keeping costs low and food fresh, and how customers who live in urban food deserts can most easily access food sources or be served by stores not in the immediate vicinity.

The Challenges and Opportunities Getting Food from the Farm to the Grocery Store in Urban Areas

This presentation will discuss research examining the challenges and opportunities for small farmers in the Midwest to transport their products to small grocery stores in cities. —Michelle Miller, University of Wisconsin, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems

The Transportation Logistics for Online Grocery Providers

This presentation will talk about some of the logistical issues online grocery providers need to address to grow and sustain their grocery delivery business. — Caesar Layton, Cultivate Ventures

Addressing Urban Food Desert Needs and Enabling Customers to Access Grocery Store and Food Resources

This presentation will examine how people living in urban areas that lack grocery stores and other stores selling food – food desert locations – can find ways to access those stores despite poor geographic access.—Alice Huang, City of Baltimore, Food Access Planner

Kate Clancy on food systems

Many of you may know Dr. Kate Clancy’s work on food systems. She has led many a project to diagnose what is working and what is not, including a multi-state project in New England – EFSNE.

Kate was on the UW-Madison campus the week of April 2 and gave a presentation for the Food and the Wisconsin Idea. The session is titled “The systems that feed us and what it will take to change them”. ( https://youtu.be/3yVx9OqKTcA ) The term “food system” is widely used in academia and the nonprofit sector, but what do we really mean by it? Are we really using systems approaches to complex problems that could lead to greater understanding and effective solutions? What stands in our way? I was honored to join Kate on the stage to address these questions. UWEX runs these sessions so that people outstate can join the event as though it is a webniar, or watch the talk on line after the event.

On April 4, Kate was the featured speaker at the Weston Roundtable Lecture speaking on “Building Successful Interdisciplinary Projects” (hotlink to come). Despite widespread acknowledgment that interdisciplinary research (IR) is among the most important ways to drive sustainable development, many collaborations fail, and it has not been embraced by many researchers and institutions. The extensive literature on IR provides guidance on the “ingredients for success”: these elements are illustrated by the experience of a seven-year project – EFSNE – conducted in the Northeast US on enhancing food security in the region. The lecture offers lessons on how to develop and manage robust interdisciplinary projects, and ideas on how to build more IR capacity.

Kate is a food systems consultant, visiting scholar at the Center for a Liveable Future at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Adjunct Professor at Tufts University, and Senior Fellow in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota.


Making More From Milk

UW-Madison is offering Making More From Milk again this year, and has recently received sponsorships for the course. Wisconsin Farmers Union has agreed to provide full scholarships for 3 of their members, and Compeer Financial’s sponsorship will provide $100 for the first 10 people who register for the course.

The three day event April 23-25 is taught with both lecture-style presentations and visits to farms. Spanish translation available. Topics to be covered:

  • Welcome, introductions, overview of value-added
    ideas and trends, retail visit, local foods restaurant,
    farmer value-added panel
  • Visits to goat and cow milk operations, retail,
    restaurant, cheese, ice cream, bottled milk
  • Branding and marketing – telling your story,
    equipment and supplies, cultures, financial
    resources, grants, food safety, regulations, next steps
  • Optional activity Friday 26 – Cheese making with Cesar Luis
To register go to: http://globalcow.com/making-more-from-milk/


Flood Risk Mapping

The Driftless is prone to flooding, as we all know, and with the rapid snow melt, areas are already experiencing flooding. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, with funding from the US Centers for Disease Control has developed a Flood Risk Mapping Application that you can use to figure out – in real time – what your flood risk is. The tool is intended for use by emergency personnel, city planners, and public health officials. But if you have access to internet services, you can also see forecasted precipitation, areas of flooding and the degree of flooding. It also maps healthcare facilities, socio-economic vulnerability, and areas with electrically-vulnerable people.

Hazelnut growers conference March 8-9

The University of Wisconsin Division of Extension is proud to welcome you to Wisconsin for the 10th Annual Upper Midwest Hazelnut Growers Conference. The focus of this year’s conference is hazelnut plant improvement with four different breeding programs providing updates on where they are at with developing improved varieties for growers in the Midwest. Anyone interested in planting hazelnuts should not miss this conference!
As in the past years, the focus on Friday will be providing information on the planting, management, harvest, and processing of hazelnuts. These Friday sessions are intended for aspiring, beginning, and experienced growers alike. Saturday morning will focus on hazelnut variety options and Saturday afternoon on a range of hazelnut projects and initiatives.
Questions or comments about the agenda or the conference can be directed to:
jason.fischbach@ces.uwex.edu