There is a flurry of activity to support small farmers and their farmers markets and restaurant partners as we all grapple with changing supply chains. The good news is that with restaurants closed, people are purchasing more food from groceries. (More than 50% of the food we consume has come from restaurants!) Our independent grocery partners are now on the front line of resilience in the food system.
I will post info to this web site as it becomes available to me. For example, this webinar will discuss on-line sales platforms and will be recorded so you can participate live or listen later. [I realize not everyone has internet access – people are working on options. Time to make the internet a utility!]:
With restaurants and some farmers markets shutting down, we know many of you need to find alternative sales channels for your products. Customers are also looking for new solutions to buy quality, organic food safely.
Join Oregon Tilth’s free webinar on Friday, March 20 at 11:00am PST to learn more about direct-to-consumer online sales platforms.
Please forward this to any farmers that may benefit from attending.
We’ll hear from representatives from four online sales platforms:
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.
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
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.
Google wants to better understand the ways that technology can benefit food systems. Skeptical? So was I. But after participating in three meetings, including one in Chicago last week, I am warming to the idea.
Watch the conversation about the future of AI in our food system with former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Food Tank, Google, and Refresh Working Group members. I think you will particularly enjoy the duet between Ali Lange (Google, formerly of the Center for Democracy and Technology), and Don Bustos, a Native New Mexican farmer. Ankita Raturi hit the ball out of the park when she notes that rural US needs stable internet access. This one is worth the watch.
“I think we have a long way to go before we start deploying Siri for farms,” she said. “We need fundamental technical infrastructure right now … very basic building blocks. What are the fundamental pieces we need to build first, and then people can imagine what other tools might be able to do.” –Ankita Raturi
In a first report from the working group, From Soil to Supper, you will see short pieces on how AI is currently in use, primarily for data collection for traditional production, distribution, and retailing. It is my hope that future reports will begin to address power disparities in the food system and the way that data privatization and technology appropriate for small to mid-scale farms is being developed. Something to help farmers anticipate extreme weather, like the Driftless flooding, would be appreciated, I am sure.
And if you have thoughts about food+tech you want me to bring to the table, please post comments below. I would be happy to share your thoughts with the working group at our next meeting.
Planning a small business growing and selling fresh vegetables? Join us for the 2019 Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers, January 11-13. Registration is now open! A limited number of scholarships are available. Click here for more information or to register or contact John Hendrickson (email@example.com)
Join Iowa County’s Uplands Farmer-led watershed group for a cover crops farm tour and seafood lunch
9am Fazenda Boa Terra produce farm (Lidia Dungue and John Middleton) 6580 State Rd 23, Spring Green
10:15am Walk to Michael Dollans’ inter-seeded cover crops, State Rd 23
11:15am Uplands Cheese dairy farm (Scott and Illana Mericka and Andy and Caitlin Hatch), 5023 State Rd 23 N, Dodgeville
The farm tour will be followed by lunch at Uplands Cheese Farm.
Come discuss cover crop practices for fresh market produce, grain and dairy systems. See no-till drilling irrigation, manure management, and other strategies to conserve soil and nutrients. Then enjoy brats and seafood caught by fishermen in the Gulf – whose challenges with nutrient build-up and biological die-off in the Gulf Dead Zone we seek to help through out conservation practices.
There is no fee, but please RSVP by Thursday, October 5 at http://bit.ly/covercroptourlunch or contacting Margaret Krome, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (608) 283-1440, firstname.lastname@example.org or Gene Schriefer, Iowa County Extension (608) 930-9850.
Co-sponsored by: MFAI, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, Iowa County Farm Bureau, Iowa County Land Conservation Department, The McKnight Foundation, MOSES, Organic Valley, Savanna Institute, Southwest Badger RC&D, UW Extension, DATCP, UW-CIAS
Have you ever thought about adding value to the milk you produce on your farm? This May, join with other farmers to learn about value-added dairy, including visits to retails that specialize in specialty cheeses, and visits to farms that are making cheese and ice cream from their milk. Cow, sheep and goat milk dairies and cheese makers are featured, especially those producing artisan and raw milk cheeses from grass-fed animals.
This is three full days of on-site expert introduction to value-added dairy. The event fee of $695 includes:
3 farm visits,
3 processor visits,
5 retailer visits,
5 seminars with industry experts,
ground transportation to visits,
Translation to Spanish.
There are also optional cheese making opportunities on Thursday May 4.
Option one – make cheese with an award-winning cheese maker in a small factory setting. $425.
Option two – make cottage cheese with professionals from the University of Wisconsin. $525.
The event runs Monday May 1 at 8 am to Wednesday May 3 at 3:30. Seminars are offered in Madison, WI and tours are concentrated in the Fox Valley.
AppleTalk: Where Apple Growers Share IPM Ideas Now is the time to register for AppleTalk.
We have scheduled a special AppleTalk call with Amaya Atucha, University of Wisconsin Horticulture, to discuss tree phenology and winter injury, breaking dormancy, and nutrition needs for trees. We will also discuss green tip disease management on this call. Unlike our regular Tuesday calls, this call will be on Friday, March 31, to align with Amaya’s availability. The regular AppleTalk season will begin sometime in late April on our regular Tuesday schedule.
What’s new for 2017?
18 conference calls to accommodate a longer season.
Registration is now online.
AppleTalk podcast. We need your help on this one. The available conference-call services offer either a stream that requires a flash player (not smart phone compatible) or generates a large media file which has to be downloaded. Both of these options are not friendly for smart phones. We are investigating low-cost opportunities that could allow us to take the downloaded file and turn it into a podcast that could be streamed or downloaded. This is not our area of expertise and if you know of a good program or have some ideas, let us know! This seems to be an area where the conference-call technology has not caught up with the times.
2017 fees are set at $150. When AppleTalk began in 2006 it was sustained through several major grants from the US EPA and USDA. Sacia Orchards helped us meet our budget for the last two seasons. Please thank them if you see them. We anticipate this modest increase and the online registration will secure the budget we need to keep improving the quality of AppleTalk and the content we deliver to you. This business expense pays for itself many times over – invest in your management.
Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. We would love to hear from you. Please contact Peter Werts, email@example.com, (608) 232-1410 x1002 or Thomas Bernard, firstname.lastname@example.org.