From Dale Secher, Carandale Farm, Vice President Midwest Aronia Association
Another year has come and gone and we are only days away from the 3rd annual Midwest Aronia Association conference. I hope that those of you who are actively involved and/or are thinking about getting involved with aronia, have been checking the website, <www.midwestaronia.org>. The conference is at the same location: Holiday Inn Northwest, 4800 Merle Hay Rd, Des Moines, IA, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 4, 5, & 6.
The best way to keep informed about the exciting new progress being made, is to join the MAA for an annual fee of $75.00 that will entitle you to members only information on the website. You will also receive quarterly newsletter with much information. If you have already made plans to attend the conference, I will be looking forward to seeing you there. If it works into your schedule, it is not too late to participate. Log onto the website for details.
FYI, one of the reasons why I have neglected to keep you informed about MAA activities through this listserv has been my pre-occupation with an exciting new project that could ultimately transform how we grow and market little known fruit crops such as aronia. Working with a grant from the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, and in cooperation with the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) at UW-Madison, we are providing input for a new website. The website, which will be hosted by UW-Madison, is due to be launched in June. It will be about the potential for promoting a sustainable integrated cropping system incorporating uncommon perennial fruit crops including, and perhaps featuring aronia.
The website will summarize information and observations about more than 50 perennial fruiting species and provide some incite on how these might be grown, harvested, processed and marketed in an integrated manner using the principles of economics of scale and ecological symbiosis for a more sustainable food supply and marketing system.
This has become a larger and more time consuming project than anticipated and a major distraction from other ongoing activities, but it could be a major opportunity for aronia growers to add value and reduce risk.